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US: Broken satellite will be shot down
Yahoo/AP ^ | 2/14/2008 | Lolita Baldor

Posted on 02/14/2008 12:09:48 PM PST by mojito

WASHINGTON - President Bush decided to fire a military missile to bring down a broken spy satellite because of the potential danger to people from rocket fuel it is carrying, officials said Thursday.

Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffries, briefing reporters at the Pentagon, did not say when the attempted intercept would be conducted, but the satellite is expected to hit Earth during the first week of March.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the same briefing that the "window of opportunity" for such a shootdown, presumably to be launched from a Navy ship, will open in the next three or four days and last for seven or eight days. He did not say whether the Pentagon has decided on an exact launch date.

He said a Navy missile known as Standard Missile 3 would be fired in an attempt to intercept the satellite just prior to it re-entering Earth's atmosphere. It would be "next to impossible" to hit the satellite after that because of atmospheric disturbances, Cartwright said.

A second goal, he said, is to directly hit the fuel tank in order to minimize the amount of fuel that returns to Earth.

Cartwright also said that if an initial shootdown attempt fails, a decision will be made whether to take a second shot.


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; banglist; fireworks; spacejunk
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This could be interesting.
1 posted on 02/14/2008 12:09:49 PM PST by mojito
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To: mojito; magslinger

Are you watching China? All your satellites are belong to us.


2 posted on 02/14/2008 12:11:37 PM PST by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG 49) "Checkmate Cruiser")
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To: mojito
President Bush decided to fire a military missile to bring down a broken spy satellite because of the potential danger to people from rocket fuel it is carrying, officials said Thursday.

B.S. It is a loud and clear message to China, in reply to their anti-satellite program.

3 posted on 02/14/2008 12:11:52 PM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people, socialist nannies do not become us.)
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To: mojito

Good test of a Standard-3 but I can’t help wondering if we don’t still have the ASAT weapon. It worked wonderfully.


4 posted on 02/14/2008 12:12:16 PM PST by F15Eagle (1Tim 1:4; Gal 1:6-10; 1Cor 2:2; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35; 2Thess 2:11; Jude 1:3)
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To: mojito

wouldn’t all the fuel burn up on re-entry. That would make a nice view coming back down to earth.


5 posted on 02/14/2008 12:12:26 PM PST by vin-one (REMEMBER the WTC !!!!!!!!)
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To: mojito

Hopefully they can hit it in fewer shots than threads.


6 posted on 02/14/2008 12:12:27 PM PST by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: mojito

Hmmm. I didn’t think the SM3 had the range/intercept/blah blah.

I hope they don’t frikkin miss.


7 posted on 02/14/2008 12:13:33 PM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: mojito
President Bush decided to fire a military missile to bring down a broken spy satellite...

A missile!? Why is THAT necessary? Doesn't anyone understand, as Senators Feinstein and Schumer do, that a single .50 BMG round is more than enough for this task? Sheesh!

8 posted on 02/14/2008 12:14:17 PM PST by Ancesthntr (An ex-citizen of the Frederation trying to stop Monica's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife from becoming President)
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To: mojito
This is great newz, cause this friggin thing was gonna land in my back yard, so I was really concerned about my hound dogs.
9 posted on 02/14/2008 12:16:06 PM PST by webschooner (A Conservative voting for John McCain is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.)
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To: RightWhale

;-)


10 posted on 02/14/2008 12:17:47 PM PST by ButThreeLeftsDo (Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.)
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To: mojito

As a guess, the satellite is more likely to be totally destroyed by the re-entry if is comes down in small pieces. The interception will make the destruction of highly classified technology much more likely. It will be decades before we find out just exactly what that satellite had on board that the Pentagon didn’t want anyone else to find out about. Something they didn’t want Russia of China to reverse engineer in the next few years, that is for sure.


11 posted on 02/14/2008 12:18:21 PM PST by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: the lone wolf

Doesn’t matter. As soon as Hillery or Obama make it to the White House, they’ll sell the technology, cancel the program, and use the funds to pay incoming illegals. (This is not a particularly gross exaggeration.....)


12 posted on 02/14/2008 12:20:40 PM PST by Da Coyote
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To: SampleMan
B.S. It is a loud and clear message to China, in reply to their anti-satellite program.

That, too ... but I think the primary concern is to ensure that payload chunks don't land intact within the borders of Russia or China.

13 posted on 02/14/2008 12:21:04 PM PST by r9etb
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To: mojito

How do you “shoot down” something that is in orbit. The best you can do is smash it into a bazillion pieces. Newton made these things quite clear.


14 posted on 02/14/2008 12:21:18 PM PST by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like ox.)
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To: mojito

It seems that, if done right, a successful intercept could ensure it lands in the ocean rather than on enemy soil.


15 posted on 02/14/2008 12:22:07 PM PST by Dilbert56 (Harry Reid, D-Nev.: "We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.")
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To: F15Eagle
Good test of a Standard-3 but I can’t help wondering if we don’t still have the ASAT weapon. It worked wonderfully.

If this works (and it probably will), it means that the Standard-3 is essentially an operational ASAT.

16 posted on 02/14/2008 12:22:08 PM PST by r9etb
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To: neodad

Your post reminded me of something I recently saw up here on FR. In case you missed it, take a look to see the “nice” debris field China created with one of their ASAT tests. Makes me wonder how stuff still survives up there without turning into swiss cheese.

http://celestrak.com/events/asat.asp


17 posted on 02/14/2008 12:22:59 PM PST by RedCell (Honor thy Father (9/6/07) - Semper Fi)
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To: the lone wolf
As a guess, the satellite is more likely to be totally destroyed by the re-entry if is comes down in small pieces.

These "small pieces" will establish their own orbits, creating a nightmare for other orbiting bodies (like commercial communitication satellites.)

What will be the altitude of intercept?

18 posted on 02/14/2008 12:24:03 PM PST by nonsporting
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To: mojito

Stupidest idea ever. Let’s just create the largest debris hazard we can for our astros in LEO, and then confine us to this planet.

Man, whoever decided to put politicians in charge of anything more complicated than a matchstick needs to be tarred and feathered...at the very least.


19 posted on 02/14/2008 12:25:20 PM PST by AntiKev (Von nichts kommt nichts.)
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To: F15Eagle

I recall we said the Standard could/would not be used in this way?

I guess they are reviewing the info now.


20 posted on 02/14/2008 12:25:48 PM PST by colonialhk (Harry and Nancy are our best moron allies)
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To: nonsporting

welly good question


21 posted on 02/14/2008 12:26:42 PM PST by colonialhk (Harry and Nancy are our best moron allies)
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To: mojito
Broken satellite will be shot down
Sorry to say I'm holding my breath on this one
22 posted on 02/14/2008 12:27:27 PM PST by lewislynn (What does the global warming movement and the Fairtax movement have in common? Disinformation)
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To: KevinDavis

Ping.


23 posted on 02/14/2008 12:27:27 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: F15Eagle

Wasn’t that the one that was slung under the belly of an F-15? I heard that worked pretty well.


24 posted on 02/14/2008 12:28:22 PM PST by RexBeach ("Americans never quit." Douglas MacArthur)
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To: Dilbert56
It seems that, if done right, a successful intercept could ensure it lands in the ocean rather than on enemy soil.

True. If you hit it head-on over the south Pacific, I think a lot of the chunks would end up deorbiting right there.

25 posted on 02/14/2008 12:28:45 PM PST by r9etb
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To: nonsporting
These "small pieces" will establish their own orbits, creating a nightmare for other orbiting bodies (like commercial communitication satellites.) What will be the altitude of intercept?

Very low -- within a few days of the actual entry, so the chunks will probably decay pretty quickly.

26 posted on 02/14/2008 12:29:52 PM PST by r9etb
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To: mojito
Wikipedia: Cascade Effect

Cascade effects seen in the perspective of space travelling are theoretical possibilities that "space junk" or a satellite destroyed by a meteor will send debris throughout the orbits of most telecommunication satellites destroying them in the process and subsequently sending that debris into all possible orbits, destroying everything in orbit around the earth. It is theorized if this occurs, space flight beyond Earth will become very difficult if not impossible.

Ummm...Let's hope these guys know what they're doing.

27 posted on 02/14/2008 12:33:36 PM PST by Spiff
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To: nonsporting

Commercial communications satellites are far, far higher.

There is virtually NO chance that the pieces of this will get any where near such satellites.


28 posted on 02/14/2008 12:35:23 PM PST by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: AntiKev

You’re wrong. This intercept will probably be at lower than 80nm... far below “astros in LEO”


29 posted on 02/14/2008 12:37:27 PM PST by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: RedCell

The reason it survives is that there is a whole lot of space in Space... lots more than you apparently believe there is.


30 posted on 02/14/2008 12:38:58 PM PST by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: AntiKev
Stupidest idea ever. Let’s just create the largest debris hazard we can for our astros in LEO, and then confine us to this planet.

Man, whoever decided to put politicians in charge of anything more complicated than a matchstick needs to be tarred and feathered...at the very least.


No, no, no! They are waiting until USA-193 is very low, below operational LEO height, precisely so other satellites aren't damaged by the debris field of the destruction of USA-193! With the debris field so low, it will decay shortly and more completely than if the satellite is left alone! Think man!
31 posted on 02/14/2008 12:39:46 PM PST by plsvn
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To: mojito

32 posted on 02/14/2008 12:39:51 PM PST by Michael Barnes
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To: vin-one

I think the fuel is radioactive!


33 posted on 02/14/2008 12:40:24 PM PST by BubbaBobTX (I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could.)
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To: mojito

Save money and hire the Chicoms to zap it to pieces.


34 posted on 02/14/2008 12:41:26 PM PST by dennisw (Never bet on Islam!)
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To: mojito

Is another purpose for this to prevent the imaging equipment from falling into enemy hands? Reminds me of Ice Station Zebra.


35 posted on 02/14/2008 12:44:36 PM PST by AJFavish (www.allanfavish.com)
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To: mojito
Interesting article by NASA on on-orbit satellite breakups is HERE.
36 posted on 02/14/2008 12:46:43 PM PST by Spiff
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To: plsvn

“With the debris field so low, it will decay shortly and more completely” if you go to the link in post 17, china’s debris was still in space 11 months later. How short is shortly?


37 posted on 02/14/2008 12:49:50 PM PST by huldah1776 ( Worthy is the Lamb)
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To: AFPhys

Doesn’t matter, they’re creating a debris hazard. It’s a stupid idea. You have to go THROUGH that altitude to get up and down.


38 posted on 02/14/2008 12:49:55 PM PST by AntiKev (Von nichts kommt nichts.)
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To: nonsporting
"These "small pieces" will establish their own orbits, creating a nightmare for other orbiting bodies (like commercial communitication satellites.) What will be the altitude of intercept?"

From the story:

"He said a Navy missile known as Standard Missile 3 would be fired in an attempt to intercept the satellite just prior to it re-entering Earth's atmosphere. "

If the dead satellite is hit just before re-entry, it is very unlikely that the impact will add any orbital energy to the pieces. They will all come down, and be more likely to burn up at high altitude. The Chinese ASAT test was at higher altitude, and most of those fragments are still orbiting.

39 posted on 02/14/2008 12:50:56 PM PST by the lone wolf (Good Luck, and watch out for stobor.)
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To: plsvn

That’s a damn lie. It’s better to leave it intact and let it burn up. Atmospheric heating during reentry is all about mass/surface area ratio. The frictional heating will be much higher on the intact satellite than on the individual pieces. They’re creating more a hazard to people on the ground and in LEO by doing this.


40 posted on 02/14/2008 12:51:38 PM PST by AntiKev (Von nichts kommt nichts.)
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To: AntiKev

The shot will most likely attempt to decelerate the satellite annd break it up in pieces. Probably an easy shot.


41 posted on 02/14/2008 12:53:29 PM PST by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: mojito

“rocket fuel” righhhhht! should be an interesting display of our missle tech and if successful, a nice message to enemies.


42 posted on 02/14/2008 12:53:49 PM PST by sappy
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To: vin-one

“..wouldn’t all the fuel burn up on re-entry.”

Don’t you know that that would only add to the CO2 level in our atmosphere causing an increase in global warming?


43 posted on 02/14/2008 12:54:25 PM PST by 353FMG (Vote for the Person who will do the least damage to our country.)
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To: mojito
I was hoping it would hit some middle eastern Arab country myself.
44 posted on 02/14/2008 12:55:44 PM PST by b4its2late (GITMO is way too nice of a place to house low life terrorists.)
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To: neodad
Are you watching China? All your satellites are belong to us.
That was my thought EXACTLY.
45 posted on 02/14/2008 12:56:42 PM PST by samtheman (McCain: Not as good as a real Republican, not as bad as a real Democrat.)
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To: neodad
Really, target practice that is in the public interest.

What could be better?

46 posted on 02/14/2008 12:57:15 PM PST by Bogie
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To: nonsporting
These "small pieces" will establish their own orbits, creating a nightmare for other orbiting bodies (like commercial communitication satellites.)

What will be the altitude of intercept?

Not to worry. The satellite is in a polar orbit, and the SM-3 will intercept at around 100 miles altitude. At that altitude, atmospheric drag will ensure that all fragments will de-orbit. Heck, the reason everybody is worried about this satellite is because it's going to de-orbit iself due to atmospheric drag.

As you know, commercial communication satellites are at 22,300 miles altitude.

Much closer is the International Space Station at about 220 miles altitude, but still way too high to be affected.

Remember Skylab deorbited itself due to atmospheric drag and it was at 260 miles.

(The ISS get a periodic re-boost to maintain it's Low Earth Orbit.)

47 posted on 02/14/2008 12:59:40 PM PST by Yo-Yo (USAF, TAC, 12th AF, 366 TFW, 366 MG, 366 CRS, Mtn Home AFB, 1978-81)
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To: AntiKev
That’s a damn lie. It’s better to leave it intact and let it burn up. Atmospheric heating during reentry is all about mass/surface area ratio. The frictional heating will be much higher on the intact satellite than on the individual pieces. They’re creating more a hazard to people on the ground and in LEO by doing this.

You're right that it's all about mass/surface area ratio, but you're wrong that it's better off left intact. Which burns better, a log or a bunch of wadded up newspaper made from the same mass of wood?

Leaving the satellite intact will shield the innermost "guts" of the satellite, with the possibility of some secret stuff possibly surviving intact to be discovered by wandering eyes.

Break it up, and it will mostly burn up or at least become unrecognizable chunks on the ground.

48 posted on 02/14/2008 1:02:47 PM PST by Yo-Yo (USAF, TAC, 12th AF, 366 TFW, 366 MG, 366 CRS, Mtn Home AFB, 1978-81)
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To: AntiKev
It’s better to leave it intact and let it burn up. Atmospheric heating during reentry is all about mass/surface area ratio. The frictional heating will be much higher on the intact satellite than on the individual pieces. They’re creating more a hazard to people on the ground and in LEO by doing this.

I'd rather take my chances on more smaller pieces allowed to decay than a single piece, perhaps protecting components deep inside the spacecraft, making it through the atmosphere essentially still intact. And I wouldn't worry about operational satellites in LEO, this is taking place well below them.
49 posted on 02/14/2008 1:04:04 PM PST by plsvn
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To: vin-one
wouldn’t all the fuel burn up on re-entry. That would make a nice view coming back down to earth.

Depends on whether the fuel is *merely hazardous* [like the anhydrous hydrazine emergency geneerator aboard F16s] or really hazardous like that aboard the former Soviet Union's radar ocean reconnaissance satellites, AKA RORSATs.

Which is aboard our naughty NRO launch 21 bird, and do the Future Imagery Architecture program cameras aboard utilize a nuclear radioisotope thermoelectric generator as their powerpack? Sorry, that info's classified.

However, you might want to try some websearching for NORAD Catalog Number 29651 In which case, you'll come across *this.*

50 posted on 02/14/2008 1:04:17 PM PST by archy (Et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno. [from Virgil's *Aeneid*.])
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