Feeds

back to article Space shuttle descends: Satellite turkey-shoot to commence

The American military has issued further warning notices to aircraft and shipping in the Pacific, offering further opportunities for US warships to destroy a malfunctioning secret spy satellite before it descends to Earth. Meanwhile, NASA has cleared the space shuttle Atlantis to land as scheduled in Florida this afternoon, …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Bad timing

Just an hour earlier and they could have shot it down during the lunar eclipse.

If I thought they had a chance in hell of hitting it on the first attempt, I'd moan about a lost photo opportunity...

0
0
Boffin

Only three?

I read earlier this week that the mods were just a software upgrade. Now I can appreciate that it may be slightly tricky to upload the new firmware but surely they could have modded say 6 or 9 in total? They can always put the software back to normal SM3 mode afterwards.

0
0
Alien

And at the same time the moon will vanish.

Isn't the total eclipse of the moon due at 3.01am GMT on the 21st?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/18/total_lunar_eclipse/

The press conference will probably annouce that the spybird was shot down and the moon came back out from hiding from the nasty chemicals.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Incoming.........

It should take them ONE shot to take this thing out..not a second..third..fourth etc...if the US cant shoot down a bloody satellite with all the technical info gathered over weeks then how can they expect to shoot down down missiles with only minutes warning????

Anyone seen my jacket??

0
0

<Click> <Clack>

PULL!

0
0
Coat

Why didn't they attach a freakin' laser to the shuttle

Or even arm it with cruise missles?

They could have shot it on the way past.

Mines the all in one number with the goldfish bowl.

0
0
Alien

Aliens...

..just remember that you read it here first, when the alien war-machines are crushing New York (I'll be perfectly safe of course, aliens never invade the Midlands)

0
0
Go

Out-source it!

Wouldn' t it be quicker and cheaper to get the Chinese to do it? They probably made half the stuff in the satellite, the Aegis cruisers and the SM-3s and they have already demonstrated the capability

0
0

question...

Does anyone know if any party is going to attempt to film it?

would make for some good footage either way - US misses, makes self look even more like arseholes *or* satellite shot down to protect secrets blah blah blah, here yougo, something being blown up! :)

0
0

Freindly Fire

Knowing the Americans, they will probabll hit a friendly sayallite anyway.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

on target

Of course they could knock it out with one shot. But they want to use the opportunity to try out firing a few missiles into space - this is a perfect opportunity to practice without question. I imagine the satellite was destined for this 'problem' very early on in its life.

0
0
Alert

Ummm..

"...an "exo-atmospheric kill vehicle" lofted by a triple-stage Standard rocket..."

So does anyone actually know how much hydrazine fuel will be falling back to Earth from the stages of the SM3 that's being used to shoot down a dangerous satellite full of hydrazine fuel?

Or do we need another rocket for those?

<confused mumbling>

0
0
Pirate

Lost aircraft....

perhaps this accounts for Oceanic 815?

(No I haven't seen series 3 yet.)

0
0
Black Helicopters

Can anyone file NOTAMs?

Sounds like an easy way to disrupt air travel over any international waters.

Just say you'll be shooting down your spy satellite (no we can't tell you which one it is), and that it'll be a good idea to avoid the [insert area here] for the foreseeable future.

Just remember to short BA's shares beforehand.

0
0
Black Helicopters

re. Friendly Fire

Rupert Murdoch, watch out!

(check later on Sky News)

0
0
Pirate

Lets hope world war 3 starts in the summer

Seems a bit daft they can only reliably shoot down a target when the weather is nice! Is a satellite an easier or harder target than a missile?

0
0
Happy

@ Darren B

Because a 'cruise' missile doesnt work in space. And mounting a laser would A) cost more $$$. B) make them lose their window of opertunity. and C) " wouldnt give them a excuse to fire a few missiles into space. "

0
0

Choppy seas

["We don't anticipate the weather being good enough today," said an unidentified military officer]

So, if anyone in the "axis of evil" fancies shaving a pop at the Americans, remember to check the maritime weather reports first. How much did those boats/radar arrays/missiles cost again?!

0
0
Bronze badge
Coat

A few thoughts...

What happens to the interceptor if it doesn't intercept? Where would the pieces of *IT* be expected to come down?

Also, this IS one of the ballistic-kill-type interceptors, yes? Is it one of the shotgun-shell-full-of ball-bearings type, or just one big hunk-o-metal? If the former, how much higher than the satellite's orbit do any pellets that miss the target go? Presumably, higher than any "debris cloud" from the target, since there would have been no loss of energy when the pellet's momentum was (partially) transferred to whatever piece of debris it created. Do we know if this added altitude was included in their debris-cloud calculations, or might we have a bonus screw-up?

And even better, now anyone who wants to nuke us knows that their best bet is to do it when there's a storm wherever the interceptors are based, since apparently they can't launch if the water's choppy.

Somehow, none of this actually makes me feel any more secure...

(Mine's the one with the sandwich-board reading "The end is near!" attached.)

0
0
Black Helicopters

Damn it! I can't believe we missed again...

Soared right past and looks like it's going to take out another one of those Galileo satellites... tracking computers are predicting a 90% chance of a debris cascade destroying the rest of the Galileo system, man are those 'peans going to be pissed.

Still, third time lucky gentlemen, make US proud.

:P

0
0
Coat

Sea Sick

So the Americans can't shoot it down because of rough seas, or is it because the navy guys are all green and feeling seasick! Never mind, when its a nice sunny day, with calm seas, then they can have a go, in the meantime watch for the first advert on ebay - Satellite spares offered!!

I'll get my coat cheers

0
0

Misconceptions

1) The interceptor is not orbital, it is suborbital. If it misses, it just comes back down.

2) The US has demonstrated it can shoot down satellites. A long, long time ago. Every time I hear someone gloating for China I think "Well good for them, welcome to the 80s".

3) The weather is an issue for the Navy, because they're on boats. This is why the US maintains fixed interceptor sites, like here in Poland.

4) Hypothetically, if we were able to throw together a magical laser in a few months to do this... How would the space shuttle power it? Remember that the 747 has multiple VERY powerful gas turbine power plants. The space shuttle probably has a few hundred watts from a fuel cell.

@Mike Moyle

It may not make you feel more secure, but it's not supposed to. It's supposed to bring down a satellite that they really, really don't want coming down in one piece. This is what Lewis Page means when he repeatedly says that this ~isn't~ good for the US's image, making allegations that they're doing it for show baseless.

0
0

Re A few thoughts...

"Where would the pieces of *IT* be expected to come down?!"

It won't be in orbit so they'll fall out of the sky very quickly.And will burn up in the atmosphere, not reach the ground.

0
0
Silver badge

How big an area?

Looking at Google Earth the region of the Pacific it makes sense to avoid right now is about the size of Mexico!

0
0

Eh?

http://www.space.com/news/080220-ap-satellite-weather.html

' "We're now into the window," a senior defense official told a news conference minutes after the shuttle landed.

He said it will remain open until Feb. 29 or 30 '

0
0
Thumb Down

and if we *had* armed the Shuttle

the left wingers and anti-American concerns woulda been screaming and whinging about *that* instead.

damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.

0
0
Linux

Eh? Windows?

"We're now into the window," a senior defense official told a news conference minutes after the shuttle landed."

Windows... So that's why they're so nervous! Pretty funny that a senior official refers to it as 'The Window'. Like a grandparent who never quite gets the tech terms right.

Ah c'mon. Somebody had to find a reason to slag MS.

The Penguin - OS to the Gods. Nuff said.

0
0
ian
Bronze badge

Incoming!

It seems that the SM3 missiles have been tested before, and succeeded in striking the target 12 of 14 times. However, these missiles are designed to counter hot ICBMs, not cold inert (i.e. dead) satellites. The infrared detector on the missile will have little IR to detect from this target, which is why the attempt is being made in daylight- there may be enough reflected solar radiation to allow the SM3 to home on the target (at a closing speed of ~22,000 miles per hour).

0
0
Unhappy

What a crock

sorry but this is the biggest pile of turd since, err, Vista.

The USAF has had squadrons of satellite killing F15 fighters for decades - here's what Time reported in 1985 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,959735,00.html

The Russkies had similar squadrons so that in WW3 each side would try to wipe out each others spy sats as the ICBM's flew. The F15's were modded to get as far up as possible to the outer limits of the atmosphere and the edges of space without using actual rocket power.

So basically if they wanted it taken out they could have done it by now. This is a ground based missile test, pure and simple, cos the Chinese beat them to it.

Hey guys, get with the programme - the Chinese and oil states already own you (you just sold your banks to em), now they're gonna kick your arse too. And then we're all f*cked. And all because Bush and the neo-twats couldn't stop meddling in Iraq. Thanks for screwing it up for the West.

0
0
Coat

Should use the Air Force

not the Navy, from their record in the Gulf War & Iraq the USAF are better at hitting friendly targets than enemy targets.

Mine's the flak jacket

0
0
Black Helicopters

oh crap

Oh crap ,looks like they are doing it again dumping their orbital trash in Oz's backyard again !

It also explains why all the sudden secretive action and activities and a couple of out of the ordinary flights into a place called Pine Gap !

Duck and cover in Oz ! , as the weather outlook for late February and early March would indicate it will start raining bits and pieces of spy satellites !

0
0
Boffin

re: Ummm..

Dalek13 scribbled thusly;

::"...an "exo-atmospheric kill vehicle" lofted by a triple-stage Standard rocket..."

:So does anyone actually know how much hydrazine fuel will be falling back to Earth from the stages of the SM3 that's being used to shoot down a dangerous satellite full of hydrazine fuel?

:Or do we need another rocket for those?

:<confused mumbling>

If this new Standard Missile is a descendant of the old Mk 104 then it's all solid fuel and when the fuel is gone there's nothing left of the stages but a thin metal shell and assorted bits of hardware. True, they'd be kind of biggish thin metal shells and at the speed they'd be traveling when they hit the water they'd probably ruin your day if you managed to get yourself under one. Hence the NOTAM exclusion zones.

As for the elbows-to-ribs about the rough seas, why risk someone's life on a slippery deck or handling ordnance on a pitching/rolling ship when you don't need to?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Satellite goes down

No more Satellite. Nice to see those expensive missiles can hit an object flying in a set orbit.

0
0

Navy:1 Satellite:0

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/dead_satellite

They went ahead and shot it anyway, just to shut you people up (about the weather).

Anyway, we never actually deployed the F-15's ASAT so this really was the best option to disintegrate it.

0
0
Thumb Up

Nailed it first try.

"The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles — not orbiting satellites — launched the attack at 10:26 p.m. EST Wednesday (0326 GMT Thursday), according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite about three minutes later as the spacecraft traveled in polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph"

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,331591,00.html

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Since we're all having such great fun with friendly fire...

"Christopher Maddison, 24, died from shrapnel wounds on 30 March last year when his landing craft came under fire while on river patrol in the Al-Faw peninsula near Basra. An initial Royal Military Police inquiry said an Iraqi missile attack was responsible, but the MoD admitted yesterday that Cpl Maddison was accidentally shot by British troops."

"Two Danish soldiers killed in Afghanistan in September died from “friendly fire” involving British troops who mistakenly identified their position as a Taleban compound, an official investigation has concluded."

"Two members of a British tank crew were killed and two critically injured after their Challenger 2 tank was fired on by another Challenger tank in southern Iraq."

"But Andrew Walker, deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, concluded that the soldier with the 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, at the time the youngest British casualty of the war, was killed by fire from a machinegun mounted on a British tank"

"Corporal Stephen Allbutt, 35, died near Basra in 2003 when the Challenger 2 tank in which he was travelling was shelled by a tank from the Black Watch battle group."

"A day later, British tank commander Sergeant Steve Roberts was shot dead by a colleague trying to help him as he struggled with an Iraqi protester near Basra."

Sorry to resort to cheap shots, but there is a collective amnesia in Britain on friendly fire by the British.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.