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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shooting Down a Spy Satellite?

So the Navy plans on "shooting down" a damaged U.S. spy satellite that is falling to earth, carrying dangerous Hydrazine fuel. I'm not sure about this plan. I know I'm not a physicist, but how does "shooting down" a spy satellite help? If it's going to enter the atmosphere and burn up anyway . . . why shoot it down?

The only "down" is the Earth--and it's heading that way, anyway. The Navy missile can't possibly "redirect" the satellite to "unpopulated areas," can it? So "shooting down" the satellite doesn't make much sense to me. It either blows up in orbit, or burns up on reentry. Right? How is the former better?

Of course, the real reason the U.S. government may want to shoot the satellite down is that they don't want the technology falling into the wrong hands. Maybe they think that it won't really burn up, enough, on reentry?

At least that makes sense. The news reports on this, the ones I've heard and seen on teevee, at least--don't make sense.


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