Viewport width =
February 22, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Twinkle Twinkle in the Sky

Last night the US military claim they successfully shot down one of their malfunctioning spy satellites. It supposedly made a nice big boom. Putting on my tin foil hat however, it seemed quite odd that they shot it down at all.

 The US reason – it had some toxic fuel in it. Oh come on, who are they trying to fool. The Satellite had skewed out of its orbit and would of re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. In doing so, bits of it would have burnt off, including the toxic fuel. Not really a risk to anyone when its being vaporised upon re-entry.

It’s much more likely that the US were ensuring that the satellite which was out of their control did not fall into other states hands. This may sound like a crazy theory taken out of a 9/11 video but it fits with the standard models of US realist politics. You have a nice toy, the Chinese for example don’t – you don’t want them to see it. So you blow it up. Don’t just take my word for it – here’s stuff;

“Some space experts have questioned the Pentagon’s justification for the mission, saying the chances of any part of the satellite causing harm were extremely remote.”

Why you would need to single out the fuel tank on a satellite the size of a small bus due to the non-existence hazardous effects of already vaporised hydrazine fuel is beyond me. What a coincidence that the Satellite stopped communicating a few hours after reaching orbit. It was a nice big useless paperweight for whomever to gawk at.

This raises an interesting question about the use of weapons in space. Unlike Under Siege 2, it is highly doubtful that any nation has a massive seismic gravitron gun that can cause earthquakes in mid air. However, there is a real risk of nuclear warheads being deployed on satellites as part of an ICBM system. Fortunately all of the space-faring nations have signed the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, forbidding the use of weapons of mass destruction in space – but it is unclear of the treaty covers defensive orbital systems in close orbit. Nor does it forbid the implementation of standard missiles in outer-space, or dual purpose technologies such as lasers.

 To infinity and beyond huh? Sadly, maybe not for long. 


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (7)

Trackback URL / Comments RSS Feed

  1. peteremcc says:

    The theory behind them trying to prevent the Chinese getting access to the technology is plausible, but requires the satellite (or part of it at least) to survive re-entry.

    So one of the key parts of your theory contradicts your explanation of why the official line isn’t true.

  2. Jackson Wood says:

    I am actually going to be doing a research paper on this sort of topic for honours this year. This second coming of the space age is very interesting. China shot down one of its own satellites for shits and giggles last year, and has a plan to build a moon base. The Americans have similar ambitions, as do the Russians, Japanese, India and the EU.

    The treaty that Conrad talks about is pretty much not worth the paper it is written on. However Russia and China have recently gone into negotiations about a treaty about the peaceful and co-operative use of space.

    I can’t wait to see wars fought over the moons and perhaps Mars’ resources. I just know its gunna happen one day.

  3. Buzz Aldrin says:

    Peter… when a sattelite re-enters, especially one as large as this with wont totally be destroyed, but the fuel in the tank would be. It would not survive the temperatures without being vaporised. The Satellite on the other hand might.


    What a mong

  4. Buzz Aldrin is right Peter…

    My theory states that only bits of the satellite are likely to fall off, with the most probable being the fuel that would not survive re-entry. If this conjecture was to hold true, then its perfectly consistent of me to suggest that the US shot it down to ensure it didnt fall into enemy hands – and the stating they shot it down to stop toxic fuel fallout would be bs.

    There is nothing inconsistent there, parts of the satellite surviing are part of my theory.

    Learn to read.

  5. derekguy says:

    Perhaps the scientists and military wanted to fulfil a childhood dream and shoot down a spaceship.

    I don’t think it matters what the reason for shooting down the satellite was, it was just cool. If the US decided they did not want China/Japan etc to get ahold of the technology then that is their right.

    It does smack of something odd that it would need shooting down but if you were given the choice of whether to shoot it down and have a sweet video made: or let it make an uninteresting splash I’d choose the missile any day.

  6. The vid is very cool I will admit.

  7. Jackson Wood says:

    However the fuel could be dispersed into the upper atmosphere… and perhaps this might effect a whole lot of people’s health, not saying anything about the environment. But then again the US hasn’t exactly been too worried about the public health and or the environment. I conjecture that they are shooting it down for two reasons:

    1) Because they can. China shot down a satellite last year much to the US’s surprise. It is a great show of power because all major powers have spy satellites. In World War One, the Allies managed to gain air supremacy, now an equally important aspect is low orbit supremacy. If you can control low orbit you can knock out communications, have an intelligence advantage (Watching enemy movements etc). You could use it to mount attacks through conventional and or non conventional weapons.

    2) Avert an international incident. The US didn’t know where the satellite would land if it made it to earth. Imagine if it landed in down town Tehran, Moscow or even worse London, or a US city. Suddenly the US would either have to avert a possible flash point for conflict, or a souring of their relations with an ally, or heaven forbid riots from their own citizens.

    I am sure the US probably wouldn’t want one of their satellites falling into Chinese or Russians, perhaps even the EU (although I’m pretty sure that the Japanese are quite tight with the Americans for exchange of space technology), but in this case it probably would have been a secondary reason.

    That video is quite awesome!


Recent posts

  1. VUW Halls Hiking Fees By 50–80% Next Year
  2. The Stats on Gender Disparities at VUW
  3. Issue 25 – Legacy
  4. Canta Wins Bid for Editorial Independence
  5. RA Speaks Out About Victoria University Hall Death
  6. VUW Hall Death: What We Know So Far
  8. New Normal
  9. Come In, The Door’s Open.
  10. Love in the Time of Face Tattoos

Editor's Pick

Uncomfortable places: skin.

:   Where are you from?  My list was always ready: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, puppy dogs’ tails, a little Spanish, maybe German, and—almost as an afterthought—half Samoan. An unwanted fraction.   But you don’t seem like a Samoan. I thought you were [inser

Do you know how to read? Sign up to our Newsletter!

* indicates required