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Tugger
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U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:59 pm

From the AP: U.S. to shoot down errant satellite.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/02/14/spy.satellite.ap/index.html

The satellite now confirmed as US 193 will be destroyed in space prior to entering the atmosphere by a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser. It will be discussed (more likely "released") publicly at a Pentagon briefing later today (Thursday).

Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Tug
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:30 pm



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:48 pm



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Or it's a convenient way of testing ASAT weaponry without calling it a "test".
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:51 pm



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

They don't want any big pieces left to reach the ground, period. This way, they reduces the chances of personal injury or property damage.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:10 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 3):
They don't want any big pieces left to reach the ground, period. This way, they reduces the chances of personal injury or property damage.

And reduces the need to have a quick-deployment force ready to retrieve whatever DOES hit the ground - don't want parts of a sophisticated spy satellite potentially falling into the wrong hands...
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:48 pm

Fox is broadcasting the news conference live from their homepage. www.foxnews.com its in yellow
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:39 pm

Anybody else hope they heavily document this and release neat pictures, videos etc?
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:41 pm



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Yes... And...

Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."

Yes.

Both statements are absolutely right.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:23 pm

Don't forget that the Navy's system is a lot cheaper than the Air Force's system. I'm sure USN is chomping at the bit to show up USAF.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:36 pm



Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 4):
And reduces the need to have a quick-deployment force ready to retrieve whatever DOES hit the ground - don't want parts of a sophisticated spy satellite potentially falling into the wrong hands...

It is vanishingly unlikely anything sensitive would survive to reach the surface (Columbia wreckage did, but Columbia was built to survive re-entry and didn't disintegrate until late in the re-entry, that won't be true of NROL-21.) This is far more likely a convenient excuse to remind China that they aren't the only ASAT power, and "make sure no one gets hurt by falling wreckage" (it is large for a general satellite, but not particularly large for a spy satellite) is always good PR.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 8):
Don't forget that the Navy's system is a lot cheaper than the Air Force's system.

ABL isn't operational yet. Once it is, the Air Force will have a cheaper and far more versatile system.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:50 pm

Apparently this thing might pose a danger somewhere on land to take this action. If the USN misses, they will be murdered by bad publicity....

Edit:
Link to Aviation Leak story:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...0Shootdown%20Plans&channel=defense

[Edited 2008-02-14 15:16:45]
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:32 pm



Quoting Corsair1107 (Reply 6):
Anybody else hope they heavily document this and release neat pictures, videos etc?

Oh it'll be photographed, videoed, and documented up the yin-yang but the public will likely see none of it. I'm sure other "resources" will be focused on the task to rate how well the missile worked, how effective it was, and what if anything remains.

If the public does get to see anything it'll be crappy video/pics.

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 7):


Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Yes... And...

Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."

Yes.

Both statements are absolutely right.

I can't take credit for the second quote, that belongs to:

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 1):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."

I do think they see this as a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Get rid of a possible problem and exercise the Anti-sat system. (And get patted on the back for being so responsible.)

Tug
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:15 am

> If the USN misses, they will be murdered by bad publicity....

Is the Standard designed to make a direct kinetic kill? Seems that is what you would need to ensure significant breakup of the satellite.

sPh
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:31 am



Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 7):
Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Guess they don't want any big secret pieces left to reach the ground.

Yes... And...

Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."

Yes.

Both statements are absolutely right

Yup, killing 3 birds with one missile.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:53 am



Quoting Sphealey (Reply 12):
Is the Standard designed to make a direct kinetic kill? Seems that is what you would need to ensure significant breakup of the satellite.

Yes the SA)">SM-3 used for ABM work has an IR seeker which provides far greater accuracy than the SA radar seeker. WIll be interesting the altitude the intercept is made at as it will give an indication of how capable the system really is.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:20 am



Quoting Sphealey (Reply 12):
Is the Standard designed to make a direct kinetic kill?

I know the SM-1MR wasn't, but we did a skin to skin on a Talos in the VA-CAPES op-area. Two AEGIS CG's and a KIDD class DDG couldn't shoot it so a lowly FFG had to do a "over the shoulder" shot that was"impossible to do". Our CO was talking shit when we got back into Norfolk.

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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:47 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 13):
Yup, killing 3 birds with one missile.

I wouldn't doubt any of those reasons, but I understand that this satalite is powered by a reactor, and maybe smaller pieces will burn up easier also.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:54 am



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 16):
I wouldn't doubt any of those reasons, but I understand that this satalite is powered by a reactor, and maybe smaller pieces will burn up easier also.

There have been some rumors of the satellite being nuclear powered, but the Pentagon has denied that. After launch, the spacecraft failed to respond to commands and it's hydrazine propellant tank is probably half full.

It seems to me that the DoD is taking appropriate action.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:07 am



Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 17):
It seems to me that the DoD is taking appropriate action.

I agree, I hope that I didn't come across the wrong way.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:29 am

The general added that the space shuttle, currently on a mission to the International Space Station, would be back on Earth before the attempt was made.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7245578.stm

[Edited 2008-02-15 00:30:23]
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:36 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 10):
Apparently this thing might pose a danger somewhere on land to take this action. If the USN misses, they will be murdered by bad publicity....

Negative.... they will just claim that the system was not designed for this kind of task (it's for ballistic missiles) and as such they had to do with what they had.

They are already building up the deniability.

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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:47 pm



Quoting Ex52tech (Reply 18):
I agree, I hope that I didn't come across the wrong way.

Absolutely not, but thank you!
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devildog2222
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:45 am

I wonder if we'll be able to see the explosion, and if we can I wonder where in the sky we'll be able to see it. If we can see it I hope its on the west coast of the united states.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:05 am



Quoting Sphealey (Reply 12):
If the USN misses, they will be murdered by bad publicity....

They have a 6-8 day window so I imagine they'll have more than one shot. Although, if it can take out an ICBM head-on I don't think think they'll need more than one.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:44 pm

I wonder if you could see this if your lucky, from the ground at night.  Silly
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:47 pm



Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 23):
They have a 6-8 day window so I imagine they'll have more than one shot.

I was watching around the Services and they said there would be three chances.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:33 pm



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 1):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."



Quoting Pope (Reply 2):
Or it's a convenient way of testing ASAT weaponry without calling it a "test".

Precisely. This satellite offers a perfect opportunity/excuse to "test" the US anti-sat capability, and send a little "diplomatic" message.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:54 pm



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 1):
Or a message to China: "Two can play at this game."

....and from a VERY mobile platform that can (if it works) hit a satellite in any orbit. I wonder if they have more than 1 or 2 subs monitoring the launch area?
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:20 am

Tonight's the night.... maybe

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1930844420080219

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel overnight on Wednesday in an area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, according to U.S. officials and government documents.

A notice to mariners broadcast by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency warned of "hazardous operations" in the area between 9:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday and midnight EST on Thursday.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:28 pm

It is currently 0328 local time in the Pacific military exclusion zone.

US 193 has just entered the kill zone, and if all goes accordingly, the satellite should be shot down within the next two minutes. Anyone in Hawaii see an impressive light show to the west? lol

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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:38 pm



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 29):
US 193 has just entered the kill zone, and if all goes accordingly, the satellite should be shot down within the next two minutes. Anyone in Hawaii see an impressive light show to the west? lol

News reports are now stating that the shot may be postponed to tomorrow because of inclement weather - rough seas. Anyone want to venture a guess as to whether or not that is a legitimate concern or if it's just a cover for a pre-launch technical glitch?
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:00 pm

Quoting FVTu134 (Reply 20):
Negative.... they will just claim that the system was not designed for this kind of task (it's for ballistic missiles) and as such they had to do with what they had.

They are already building up the deniability.

Ah, I miss the old days of TASS....


Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 30):
if it's just a cover for a pre-launch technical glitch?

I dunno... Pre-launch glitch on all three Ticonderoga-class cruisers? Sounds unlikely to me.

[Edited 2008-02-20 09:09:55]
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:42 pm

My bad RedFlyer. Sorry my friend. It's one Ticonderoga-class cruiser with two supporting vessels. According to Defense News, only three SM3 missiles will have the required software modifications for a satellite shot:

Fair Use:


Bad Weather May Postpone Satellite Shoot-Down
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Published: 19 Feb 17:39 EST (12:39 GMT)
Print Print | Print Email

The U.S. military may have to delay its shoot-down of an out-of-control spy satellite that was planned for Feb. 20 due to bad weather, a senior military official said.
A modified SM-3 will be used during the attempt. (U.S. Navy)

"We don't anticipate the weather to be good enough," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "It has not been enough for us to say no, but we are watching weather today."

The official said waves in the Pacific were too big for U.S. warships to get into a correct position to fire a missile at the satellite. The intercept is estimated to cost between $40 million and $60 million.

The landing of the space shuttle Atlantis in Florida on the morning of Feb. 20 cleared the skies for the military, opening the window of opportunity to destroy the satellite.

The Pentagon had been waiting until the space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth before launching the missile.

"We're now into the window," the senior military officer said minutes after the shuttle landed at 9:07 a.m. Eastern time.

He said the mission could go forward on any day until Feb. 29, when the satellite is projected to have re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, making it infeasible to attempt to hit it with the Navy missile.

The Navy will fire a modified SM-3 missile, using the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapons system to shoot down the malfunctioning satellite, which Defense Department officials fear could potentially shower hazardous debris on Earth.

The missile does not contain a warhead - it destroys its target using the force of the impact. The SM-3 is the same missile the Navy uses in its ballistic missile defense tests, but the three missiles modified for the satellite shoot-down have software alterations designed to hit the specific target, a Navy official told reporters on Feb. 19 in a briefing at the Pentagon. The official requested to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the missile shot.

The National Geospatial Agency has issued an advisory warning aviators and mariners of hazardous operations in a large area of the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii from 9:30 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday to 12 a.m. on Feb. 21, setting off speculation that this will be the window the Navy uses to shoot down the satellite.

Ted Molczan, a satellite watcher who has been observing the failed spy satellite closely since its launch in 2006, has calculated it will pass directly over the area specified in the notifications for about three minutes around 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 20.

The cruiser Lake Erie will take the first shot, the official said. The ship is carrying one additional modified SM-3 as well. The destroyer Decatur will provide long-range surveillance and tracking and also has one modified SM-3 aboard, the Navy source said. A third ship, the destroyer Russell, will "likely" remain pierside in Hawaii to provide backup for the Decatur, another Navy source said. The Military Sealift Command missile range instrumentation ship Observation Island will also collect data and monitor the shoot, officials added.

Ultimately, the Navy is equipped to take three shots at the satellite, but there will be some period of time in between them, according to the Pentagon. Officials would not specify how long they would wait to try again if the first shot misses, nor would they reveal how often the broken satellite completes an orbit over the Earth. A typical Aegis BMD test, in which a warship destroys a test ballistic rocket fired from a range in Hawaii, lasts between 20 and 80 seconds.

The Pentagon first became aware of the potentially dangerous re-entry of the satellite early this year, according to press reports. The satellite, known as USA 193, experienced problems upon launch in 2006 and is roughly the size of school bus, DoD officials confirmed.

It took the Navy about six weeks to make the necessary modifications to the missiles and radars to "take it to sea with some degree of confidence," the Navy official said at a Feb. 19 briefing. The Navy had no prior capability to shoot down satellites and had previously "not explored that," the source added.

The challenge for the Navy in hitting the satellite is the nature of the target, the official said. The satellite is "bigger and faster than a missile" and the target must be hit in the fuel tank, which remains full, the official said. The Defense Department will send out a statement within an hour of the missile's launch, but it could take a day or longer to determine if the fuel tank was hit, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said on Feb. 19.

The satellite does not have its own heat signature, so operators must rely on the sun to warm the target. The official described the orbiting satellite as a "cold body in space."

Since January 2002, the Navy has a solid rate of success in its Aegis ballistic missile defense test program, hitting 12 of 14 targets so far. The tests have increased in complexity, most recently boasting a success hit of a separating target last December.

The cost of the shoot-down is unclear, but an Aegis ballistic missile defense tests costs around $40 million, the source said. One SM-3 missile costs about $10 million.
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redflyer
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:45 pm



Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 31):
I dunno... Pre-launch glitch on all three Ticonderoga-class cruisers? Sounds unlikely to me.

Ah, I didn't realize all three cruisers were in position and ready to go. I assumed they were to be staggered. I was also assuming that the weather would have been a "known" and we would have heard about a possible weather delay prior to today. However, I have to remind myself this is a military operation with very little publicity other than what the military wants us to know.
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MCIGuy
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:20 pm



Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 32):
The challenge for the Navy in hitting the satellite is the nature of the target, the official said. The satellite is "bigger and faster than a missile" and the target must be hit in the fuel tank, which remains full, the official said. The Defense Department will send out a statement within an hour of the missile's launch, but it could take a day or longer to determine if the fuel tank was hit, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said on Feb. 19.

This sounds kind of lame to me. The closing speed of the missile and the target should be so high that even a glancing blow should make metal confetti.

I'm wondering if the debris will be visible from North America on reentry. I'll already be outside with my camera tonight because of the lunar eclipse. Wouldn't that be something, two celesial events in one night! I'm envisioning footage of the eclipse with burning satellite pieces passing in front of it (I know, I know). Big grin
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:04 am

its being shot at west of hawii so any debris would go west two new zeland/australia
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:30 am

sure about that? I would think that debris would continue in something close to the original orbit of the bird.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:49 am



Quoting Corsair1107 (Reply 36):
sure about that? I would think that debris would continue in something close to the original orbit of the bird.

Correct. The satellite is in a 58.5 degree orbit, meaning it crosses the equator going either northeast or southeast. The debris cloud will continue along the orbit track, which at this time of night is northeasterly toward Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

The ASAT strike will not de-orbit the satellite. Even if it hits, the vast majority of the debris will remain in essentially the same orbit as the intact satellite. The strike is meant to break up the satellite (particularly the fuel tank), greatly increasing the chances that it will burn up in the atmosphere when the orbit decays early next month.

Australia is in the clear for now. No repeats of SkyLab.
 
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:50 am

News is reporting that the launch went off and the errant sat was hit. More details to follow.
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:54 am



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 38):
News is reporting that the launch went off and the errant sat was hit. More details to follow.

channel 5 in the washington, dc area is reporting that the SM-3 attack was successful and that large pieces may begin to de-orbit and burn up during the next two orbits.
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L-188
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:10 am

Funny how they chose the night of a lunar eclipse to do this isn't it?
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:47 am

Congrats to the USS Lake Erie! Now I wanna see some impact pictures  Smile

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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:55 am

The large press attention to this ASAT attack is very strange and somewhat surprising,because the US military itself has brought the situation to the world's attention. Why would the US military take these steps? The satellite that was targeted yesterday (USA-193) is operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). It was rumored to be a test-bed for a new generation of high-tech spy satellites. The official NRO press release at the time of USA-193's launch in December 2006 stated that "the satellite launched will provide invaluable intelligence data to support the war on terrorism".

Among amateur satellite observers, it was already known for a long time that this satellite's orbit decay was about to happen. Moreover, the question is how much of an extra risk this decay really poses compared to other satellites that have reentered the atmosphere - this happens several times a year. Chances that the impact of satellite parts that could lead to damages to property or humans is extremely small. If a person were to come into direct contact with hydrazine fuel remnants, then risks are involved. With several earlier occasions of satellite or rocket fuel tanks reaching earth surface intact in the past, this so far never has happened. There had been some speculation about the potential presence of a nuclear power system was onboard USA-193, thus leading to the shoot-down and a cover-up that the hydrazine fuel was the actual reason for the military's actions.

The whole situation as to the "why?" of bringing the satellite decay (and yesterday's ASAT-attack on it by the US Navy) was splashed all over the international media has opened numerous questions. Was there a nuclear power system onboard? Was this a aggressive show of geopolitical military force to strongly remind the Chinese and Russian military commands that the US has the operational capability to shoot down ballistic missiles that they might fire at the NATO allies in wartime? Or was this attack simply a way to destroy a ultra-secret spy satellite before any part of it could be examined and reverse engineered, thus losing any technology supremacy that may currently exist?

Ah, welcome to the new space-based Cold War.
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N328KF
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:42 pm



Quoting Thorny (Reply 37):
Australia is in the clear for now. No repeats of SkyLab.

Nobody was really worried about repeating SkyLab. They were more worried about repeating Cosmo 954, though on a bigger scale.
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sprout5199
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:48 pm

I think this was killing two birds with one stone. 1. Remove the threat of the hydrazine fuel. Most likly the tank was deep inside the satellite to protect it from space debis, so it wouldn't have burned up. 2. Show China that we can shoot down satellites, and do it from a ship. Smart PR on both counts.

Bravo Zulu to the Captain and Crew of the USS Lake Erie. One shot,One Kill. Paint that satellite on the bridge wing. Run up the broom. Kings of the ASATW(Anti-Satellite Warfare).

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Lumberton
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:51 pm



Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 45):
and do it from a ship

This is a point lost in the media. Ship's don't need landing rights and can traverse the ocean's surface at will. An ocean going ASAT capability is a good thing to have.
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glideslope
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:52 pm



Quoting StasisLAX (Reply 43):
Was this a aggressive show of geopolitical military force to strongly remind the Chinese and Russian military commands that the US has the operational capability to shoot down ballistic missiles that they might fire at the NATO allies in wartime? Or was this attack simply a way to destroy a ultra-secret spy satellite before any part of it could be examined and reverse engineered, thus losing any technology supremacy that may currently exist?


Both. IMO, more toward the latter. Never the less very impressive.  checkeredflag 
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MCIGuy
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:03 pm

The footage of the intercept is on the news, I can't find it online yet. Anyway, it is amazing!
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Lumberton
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RE: U.S. To Shoot Down Errant Satellite

Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:21 pm



Quoting StasisLAX (Reply 43):
Or was this attack simply a way to destroy a ultra-secret spy satellite before any part of it could be examined and reverse engineered, thus losing any technology supremacy that may currently exist?

There is also the possibility that this thing would have created an eco-nightmare had it impacted with unspent fuel--just as DoD has been saying the last week.  Yeah sure
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