Satellite Killer’s Broad Impact

From DefenseTech:

There’s been immediate fallout — both physical and political — from China’s satellite killer test.

Debris from the orbital collision has already been spotted, the M-T Milcom blog notes. “As of this writing NORAD has officially cataloged 32 objects… that now pollute a vital area of space (sun-synchronous polar orbit).” The picture to the right is of a few of ’em.

“There are over 125 satellites that operate in this portion of space,” the M-T blog observes. Those include reconnaissance satellites, like the Lacrosse and Advanced Keyhole orbiters, as well as weather-monitors, like the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program series. In other words, this test directly effects the American military’s ability look for terrorist hideouts, and survey a potential battlefield. These are not small matters. “Our space assets are the first asset on the scene,”’s John Pike tells the AP. “They are absolutely central to why we are a superpower – a signature component to America’s style of warfare.”

Even the International Space Station could be at risk.


  1. I wonder what’s the risk? How often does a satellite get hit by man-made space junk? Has there ever been a collision where something is totally destroyed?

  2. Oh dear. No less than 32 small objects floating freely in space for a while until they re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. I guess the universe is ruined now then.

    I think the real issue is that the US feels that it is completely unreasonable that anyone but themselves should have modern weapons technology. I can understand that it is cool to be a superpower, but all this whining everytime someone else flex one of their small muscles… It’s just so unsuperpowery.

  3. Sun-synchronous polar orbit is a relatively small range of orbit, and it’s relatively packed as it’s so widely used. If you’re going to put debris somewhere, that’s probably the least desirable place (after the ISS orbits, as that’s manned)

  4. … If the U.S. had done this, it wouldn’t be news.

    … But Americans should keep in mind:

    1. China is the #2 consumer of fossil fuels, behind only the U.S. And there just isn’t enough to go around . . . we can’t really share if we wish to continue living the lives we have.

    2. China’s power and influence are spreading across the globe at a very rapid pace. They are quickly securing friends and allies with oil and natural gas reserves that the U.S. has refused to deal with or cannot deal with (Venezuala, Nigeria, to name 2).

    3. China’s military largely trains for only two scenarios: The “unnavoidable clash with Taiwan”, and fighting Nato units, most especially American units and carrier groups (they see the two as most likely tied together, actually – Taiwan and America).

    4. Chinese people are very proud, at least as proud as most Americans (patriotic), and sadly, they are quite ignorant of both local and world affairs (state-controlled media).

    … I go there frequently, and these are my observations. But for the time being, they still need us too badly for us to be too concerned. Ten years from now… who knows?

  5. It is a pity, with such a poor attitude, that Nobunaga goes to China often.

    Patriotism is a form of pride reserved for those who least deserve to be proud, thinking of their own nationality rather than the prosperity of the world as a whole.

    Nobunga’s first line is the oddest of all, not for its phrasing but for what it implies. It’s pretty ripe for a cynical poke.

    Or is Nobunga saying he can’t live with himself given the lives Americans continue to have?

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