back to article Pentagon says sat-smash smithereen cloud almost gone

An American admiral says that all significant orbital debris from the recent missiling of a duff spy satellite by US warships has now burnt up. Reuters reports that Rear Admiral Alan Hicks, head of the ship-mounted element of the US ballistic-missile defence programme, made the remarks at a conference in Washington. "There's …

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  1. Joey Y
    Thumb Up

    When you bring them together...

    ...the rendezvous of satellite and kill warhead, the admiral said:

    "When you bring them together ... you can get a lot more value."

    Satellite + kill warhead = $$$ (or £££, or €€€...)

  2. gautam

    Hope so

    Better be that, else they are the first ones to suffer if any of the shuttle or satellite launches get hit by these small parts at several miles per second. Wud be fun to see their righteousness tested !

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK fine

    No more of these please never mind how much the wretched satellite cost much less the missile and kill vehicle you have to be a government employee to think anything about this operation was value for money. It hasn't engendered any new international conflicts, and no one was killed thats still not value for money. I know picky-picky but it's a high risk activity with no room for errors.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Value demonstrated

    The U.S. has just demonstrated that it can knock out anything in orbit from a ship fired weapon, at will.

    The value of that is astronomical.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    US bombs flying overhead

    I think that "Sat-Smash Smithereens" would be a good name for a band.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Naval ranks

    Rear Admiral, huh huh heh huh heh :-) What the hell is a Rear Admiral anyway?

    Alan Hicks - sounds like a complete di...

    Think Paris knows about Rear Admirals?

  7. Sean
    Thumb Down

    Spacecraft Kill Capability

    Looks to me like the US has the capability to destroy spacecraft, even if it's low altitude. Oh, and by the way, how does it make more sense to break up toxic chemicals in the atmosphere vs. a restricted area on the ground? Seems to me this exercise risked spreading the satellite and it's cargo over an area of miles, not the two football fields expected by a direct impact.

  8. Steve
    Stop

    Re: Naval Ranks

    Careful. Grace Hopper was a Rear Admiral...

    A Rear Admiral is a junior Admiral, kept at the back of the fleet during an engagement effectively as a spare, in case the other Admirals get to visit Davy Jones.

  9. Morely Dotes
    Coat

    Re: Re: Naval Ranks

    Minor correction (or additon if you like).

    In sailing-ship naval warfare, the admiral commanding the fleet would be onboard the lead ship in the engagement, with the fleet strung out in line behind him. As the two hostile fleets pass one another, they fire off their cannon, of course. When the two fleets have passed beyond engagement range, each individual ship comes about, reversing the order of the ships in line, and the rear admiral (formerly on the rearmost ship, which has now become the lead ship) commands the fleet during this pass.

    So a Rear Admiral is the fleet's second-in-command when they're sailing "forward," and the fleet's battle commander when they're sailing back the other way.

    Mine's the one with "pedant" emblazoned across the back...

  10. Jay
    Coat

    RE:Re: Naval Ranks

    Hasn't Disney taught you anything? It's clearly pronounced:

    "Dehvy Joons"

    Mines the Long ornate one with the hidden compartments for "booty"

  11. Nexox Enigma

    @Sean

    """Seems to me this exercise risked spreading the satellite and it's cargo over an area of miles"""

    I don't think you have a good handle on the altitude here. Even if there were larger pieces of the sat left, they'd still be in orbit for a while, since this thing is more or less still in space. There would be virtually no way that the fuel tank wasn't damaged, so you're guaranteed to have all the toxic chemicals boil off during the heated part of falling to earth. That doesn't mean they're spread over miles, it means that they're soaked up my millions of cubic kilometers of atmosphere, most of which is still at an incredably high altitude.

    Essentially nothing that you do at the edge of space translates into 'an area of miles' because there is so much more orbit and atmosphere between your target and the ground. If you were shooting down an airplane, then maybe, but this is space, which is really really high up there. The biggest thing to worry about was probably just missing.

  12. SnowHawk
    Pirate

    Dispersion of the Hydrazine to non toxic levels

    Sean, you ask, "Oh, and by the way, how does it make more sense to break up toxic chemicals in the atmosphere vs. a restricted area on the ground?"

    Breaking it up in a location you determine is preferred over letting it land where it may and cleaning it up. If the sat had come down in a populated area, it would have done so with little warning, and the hydrazine, contained in a tank that might have survived reentry, could have poisoned a significant number of people. Bursting it high up in the atmosphere allowed it to disperse to safe concentrations, or maybe even be broken down into its chemical components by unfiltered sunlight, before hitting the surface in a location of the US Gov's choosing, in this case, well out to sea.

    Skull and bones for poisonous content. Or perhaps I should have gone with the black helo for US Gov conspiracy to put some fish at risk?

  13. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Black Helicopters

    Missing the bus?

    The military were surprised to find that the craft was pulverised? Am I the only one who can think of a more likely alternative?

    On contact the fuel ignites and takes the said sat away at a rate of knots. Later, when no one is looking, it comes back to haunt us.

  14. The Prevaricator
    Boffin

    @ AC #2

    "The U.S. has just demonstrated that it can knock out anything in orbit from a ship fired weapon, at will".

    Shoot the moon!..

    Also, I significantly remember concerns about the first attempt due to bad weather from the launch site. So, yes, the U.S. can indeed knock out anything in orbit from a ship fired weapon, so long as it's a nice pleasant day, and it's smaller than the moon. Those evil spysats are fine so long as they get a helping hand from inclement weather conditions...

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