[ExI] Name the Rogue Satellite Operation

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Feb 21 12:54:10 UTC 2008

> Eugen Leitl
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Name the Rogue Satellite Operation
> On Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 05:41:09PM -0800, spike wrote:
> > Gene, hitting a satellite with an explosive when the 
> satellite is in 
> > the upper atmosphere might raise the apogee of some of the 
> fragments, 
> > but the
> Okay, the thing is at reentry already. I didn't knew that...

I notice the US government went to no great lengths to explain it.  We can
look forward to plenty of accusations like this one:

>The US can't afford space activities anymore, because of the Iraq expense,
the collapsing dollar and the recession.  Sooooo, let's make sure nobody
else goes there either until after the mess is cleared up...

The US didn't do that of course, but China did.  The US Satellite was only
about 200 km up, so it was already in the upper atmosphere.  There will be
nothing left in a month or so.  But the Chinese satellite was up at 800 km,
and it was in a nearly polar orbit.  That means the resulting debris ring
precesses over a period of time, due to the fact that the earth isn't
perfectly spherical.  That means if you had a space elevator, eventually
that ring would sweep across it, most likely destroying the cable.  

That being said, I thought there was probably already too much debris in LEO
for a space elevator to be practical, but the Chinese put plenty of nails in
the coffin of that idea.



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