ss_blog_claim=8dcabb3175f064b32823a45ed345083b Majik's Thoughts: Not Exactly Star Wars


Not Exactly Star Wars

My neighbour to the south never ceases to amaze me. I'm not talking about one person in particular, but the country south of my current place of residence. I was perusing my favourite news networks website and stumbled over a story about launching a missile into space to shoot down a spacecraft. If I was in orbit right now, I would be a little worried. I know that space is extremely immense and the actual risk of being hit by a missile is slim, but has this been tested before?

What am I talking about? Well I'm talking about the use of a surface to air missile to down a space craft. This has been done before by China to get rid of an old weather satellite. Even though China was successful in destroying the satellite, the danger to other orbiting technology must be considered. In the article I was reading, China received a lot of bad press over the incedent, with that in mind how will this affect the global view of the U.S. if they proceed with plans to destroy a satellite?

Public opinion of George W. Bush is extremely low right now as there are rumours of a recession in the U.S. and planing on removing a satellite by destroying it probably wouldn't help. I can understand the danger of a satellite falling from orbit containing harmful chemicals, even if the point of impact is not in a public area. The fuel for the thrusters on board the satellite is hydrazine. Apparently hydrazine can cause a burning sensation similar to chlorine. The security risk for the technologies on board is really low considering any technology on board will vaporize during re-entry to our atmosphere. I guess the risk of the satellite falling in a populated area out weighs any other risk.

Now after reading through the article, I can understand how downing a satellite with a missile is much cheaper than a shuttle mission to retreive it, but that's really not concerning. What is concerning is the amount of near earth objects that will be careening around our planet after the satellite is destroyed. An explosion in space would send pieces of the satellite in every direction and with no wind resistance, any object in the way would be damaged. What about the astronaughts on board the International Space Station. What are the chances of one of the fragments from the destroyed satellite end up putting a large hole in the Station?

I could just be over analyzing the news story, but I'm sure there is a chance. Its possible that this really is the safest way to avert any injury or death from a satellite. As for how this affects the average Canadian, well it certainly gives us a topic to debate. I'm sure that the global view of the U.S. will suffer a little bit, but with all of the other events that are going on in the world, it will get over looked. If it does damage the global view of the U.S. our Canadian dollar could see a little more prosperity, but I'm just speculating. Well that's my opinion, what are your thoughts on launching a missile to destroy a satellite?

Image source: Wiki Media Commons
News Story: U.S. plans to shoot down spy satellite


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