totally awesome!

The US military is going to blast a failing spy satellite out of the sky using sea-based missiles launched from a Navy cruiser. No, not Michael Bay’s next movie plot; this is actually real.

Question for the US Intelligence Agencies: if the thing is so sensitive and loaded with secrets that you have to try and shoot it down rather than let it fall into Russian/Chinese hands, why didn’t you just put a self-destruct on it? Duh.

5 thoughts on “totally awesome!”

  1. The reason they’re shooting it down is because they don’t have control over it. Which means that if there was a self destruct on board, they wouldn’t be able to trigger it.

    The reason they want to shoot it down is because it carries a big tank of hydrazine, which is quite poisonous. The sensitive parts of the design are highly unlikely to survive reentry, but the fuel tank reportedly is large enough and solid enough so that it might, and if it does then someone finding it might get poisoned.

  2. Speaking purely from a science fiction perspective, and hence admittedly divorced from reality, wouldn’t you want the self-destruct to be some automatic sequence triggered by a remote encrypted signal? Something less complicated than Kirk’s auth code from Star Trek III, just transmit the right 128-bit key on the right frequency and boom.

    The article did say that they were equally worried about “sensitive information” from the satellite being recovered. I guess I am not that worried about the hydrazine, after all I thought the doomsayers about Cassini-Huygens’s plutonium powerplant were full of crap.

  3. The reason why they want to shoot it down is because they want to conduct the first realistic test of their surface-to-space missile system.

  4. yeah, thats the part that still reads like science fiction to me. We still don’t have a decent ICBM interception capability, yet they want to shoot down a satellite in orbit? Color me very skeptical.

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