Satellite Wars and Space Pollution by US and China

by OldSailor on February 22, 2008


pollution satellite missile

“One who controlled the oceans will be the one who will be controlling the whole world”. This centuries old doctrine, prompted all the countries to develop their Navies to control the oceans.

Now with technological developments, the new doctrine is “One who controlled the space will be the one who will be controlling the whole world”. Many global activities are now satellite dependent, such as

  • Communication for military, civil
  • Weather forecast
  • TV
  • Aircraft and Ships Navigation
  • Resource mapping
  • Spying

Every country wants to launch its own satellites, to be more independent. In case of war or conflicts, the easy way to defeat or cripple a country is to kill the satellites of that country.

Both the US and the Soviet Union have already demonstrated their space supremacy. China has proved its capability last year to kill satellite and has become the third country to shoot something down in space. Now, US has validated the technology on February 21, by successfully shooting down a defunct spy satellite from a guided missile cruiser.

A comparison of US and Chinese shooting down their satellites

Satellite Hunting US China
When February 21,2008 January 11,2007
Where over the Pacific Ocean from or near the Xichang Space Center
Why defunct satellite had hazardous hydrazine fuel no valid reason
How Modified tactical SM-3 missile launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie the ground-based, medium-range ballistic missile after three failures
What (i)National Reconnaissance Office satellite,5000 lb (2270 kg)

(ii)launched in 2006

(iii)shot down 240 km (150 miles) above the Earth

(i)Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) polar orbit weather satellite

(ii)launched in 1999

(iii)shot down from its orbit about 537 miles above Earth

Hazard due to space pollution (i)Debris may pose a threat to orbiting ISS

(ii)as it was shot much closer to earth most of the debris will burn up on reentry within 2 days to 40 days

(i)Debris created in space: lead to nearly 800 debris fragments of size 10 cm or larger, nearly 40,000 debris fragments with size between 1 and 10 cm, and roughly 2 million fragments of size 1 mm or larger

(ii)Roughly half of the debris fragments with size 1 cm or larger would stay in orbit for more than a decade.

Now many more countries are likely to prove their skill in shooting the satellites and pollute the space.

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