Thursday, February 12, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Seems like there must be a better way to make a phone call.

The AP reports:
Two big communications satellites collided in the first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit, shooting out a pair of massive debris clouds and posing a slight risk to the international space station.

The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. The Russian satellite was out of control, Matney said.

Litter in orbit has increased in recent years, in part because of the deliberate breakups of old satellites. It's gotten so bad that orbital debris is now the biggest threat to a space shuttle in flight, surpassing the dangers of liftoff and return to Earth. NASA is in regular touch with the Space Surveillance Network, to keep the space station a safe distance from any encroaching objects, and shuttles, too, when they're flying.
Ok, wait: space litter has increased because of deliberate breakups of old satellites? Does this seem responsible to anyone? Whatever happened to letting them burn up in the atmosphere or whatever? Alright, I ain't no rocket scientist.

So is this what we mean by space based warfare -- buckshot in space? I wonder what would happen if I took this bag of marbles ...

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