Pimp My ASAT
The Bushies stated rationale for their plan to disrupt that falling surveilance satellite seems to be provoking a bit of mirth among the pros. David Kurtz at Josh Marshall's TPM links to this detailed discussion. A few lowlights:
The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale highly unlikely. "Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold," one tells DANGER ROOM.
Lots of hydrazine tanks have fallen to Earth already, without doing any harm. Even in the worst case scenario, the hazard area is small - a couple of football fields.
"The cynic in me says that the idea that this is being done to protect the lives of humans is simply a feel-good cover story tossed to the media," another veteran space security specialist adds. "It is true that hydrazine is very toxic and could result injury or death, but the odds of this happening are minuscule. The average person in American is many thousands of times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by any falling debris. In fact, no one has ever been killed by space debris (I have heard of one or two being struck but only minor injuries). So pretty much everything else you can think of (including getting hit by an asteroid/comet) is many times more likely than dying from this. Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold."
We are, of course, used to the Bushies lying about anything and everything. There are more plausible rationales - We want to show Chinese that they aren't the only ones who can zap a satellite and, no doubt, some defense contractor smells billions in anti-satellite warfare money.