“The more believable explanation for the duck hunt..”

The weather over the archipelago last night was less than conducive to good viewing conditions for the total lunar eclipse, but in the Pacific Ocean there was enough of a gap for the US Navy ship, Lake Erie, to take the opportunity, at 10.26pm, to launch a modified SM-3 missile. And they’re pretty confident they succeeded in shooting down that ‘toxic’ satellite. Time reckons “The more believable explanation for the duck hunt is that it’s been an exercise in politics rather than safety”.. although the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, told reporters – “We see this as a one-time event”. Oh, and China’s not happy.. The missile strike can be seen immmediately below and the extended US Department of Defence briefing is below the fold.

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  • Greenflag

    Well after a couple of trillion dollars for the Iraqi adventure why not 60 million dollars for a duck hunt ? American taxpayers must be complete gobshites to put up with this ‘ boys will be boys with their toys’ nonsense .

    Apparenlty there was a 3% chance it could have landed in a populated area with a less than .01% chance of hitting an actual building . Even then unless somebody stood amidest the debris for several days breathing in the foul stench it would not have been dangerous . Also the material quickly evaporates or dissolves in sea water .

    ‘Missile Strike of the Eclipse Moon’

    No doubt another success story in the long runningtradition of ‘Missions Accomplished ‘ by Captain Dubya America 🙁

  • Dread Cthulhu

    This hooplah seems a trifle overdone, given the nigh-deafening silence that followed the Chinese test of their purpose-built anti-sat system.

  • joeCanuck

    I have to admit that I thought that they would miss. That was a pretty impressive engineering achievement.
    (Did I ever mention that I’m an engineer?)

  • Totally off topic, but I need to get it into the stream of semi-consciousness:

    Can the estimable Pete Baker (who has been to the fore in starting threads on the subject) refer to Professor William Reville’s excellent and highly readable demolition of “Intelligent Design” in today’s Irish Times?

    And if anyone cannot access it there (that accursed “subscription required”), I have transcribed it (totally without regard to the decencies and protocols) here.

  • joeCanuck

    I have suffered from a chronic, extremely painful, bad back for slightly over a year.
    If I could I would sue that so-called intelligent designer.
    Not fit for purpose.

  • steve

    I think the yanks were more scared that some of their technology might fall into the hands of the enemy and it also allowed them to send out the message that you better not launch anything they dont like because they will simply remove it

    goes along with their self important egotistical persona

  • Greenflag

    Question:

    ‘How can pick out the intelligent designer at a fight between a duck and an ICBM ?

    Answer:

    He’s the one who designed the duck

  • joeCanuck

    From my childhood:

    Q. What’s the difference of a duck?

    A. One of its legs is both the same.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “I have to admit that I thought that they would miss. That was a pretty impressive engineering achievement. ”

    Remember — its meant to hit a missile in flight, not a relatively slow, relatively large satellite falling in a reasonably predictable manner. But, yeah, I duppose it counts as “hitting a bull with a bullet.”

    joeCanuck: “(Did I ever mention that I’m an engineer?) ”

    Not sure — i know you mentioned working in the nuclear energy industry a couple of times, but I don’t think you mentioned your job-description.

    steve: “I think the yanks were more scared that some of their technology might fall into the hands of the enemy and it also allowed them to send out the message that you better not launch anything they dont like because they will simply remove it”

    And what was the message in the Chinese fortune-cookie, Stevie?

  • steve

    well Dreadie

    I think the Chinese message was “You had better take us seriously we aren’t what we used to be”

  • Pete Baker

    Dread

    It may be the size of a small bus.. but it ain’t slow.

    According to various reports I’ve listened to, it was travelling at around twice the speed a ballistic missile would have been.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Steve: “I think the Chinese message was “You had better take us seriously we aren’t what we used to be” ”

    So, it is appropriate for the Chinese, but not the Americans?

    Feh.

    The Chinese did not annonce their launch and took days to ‘fess up.

    The US provided ample lead warning of their intentions.

    The Chinese struck a harmless target in a higher orbit, creating a debris field, hazardous to other nations’ satellites.

    The United States struck a potentially hazardous target at a lower orbit such that the debris would enter the Earth’s atmosphere, with the overwhelming percentage of the satellite burning up in re-entry.

    The Chinese ASAT system is purpose built; the American system jerry-built, using a system meant for another purpose.

    Now, I’ll agree that this was more politics than science or disaster prevention, but the more troubling of the two incidents should be the Chinese test, not the American one.

    Pete Baker: “According to various reports I’ve listened to, it was travelling at around twice the speed a ballistic missile would have been.”

    Not sure that jibes with what I’ve been reading in the papers, but that’s journalism for you.

    NYT: “Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement. ”

    Now, that is about the same speed as we were told a Russian ICBM would be travelling back in the Eighties, iirc. Not sure what the speed of the expected target (N.K. Tang-po 3(?) missiles) would be, tho.

  • joeCanuck

    Since the satellite was slowly falling, its speed has to have been a little bit less than escape velocity. (around 18,000mph?)
    A ballistic missile’s velocity has to be significantly lower otherwise it would go into orbit – not much use. I thought I read recently that a typical ICBM speed was around 4000mph. It will vary of course depending on how far away the target is if it is simply a targeted ballistic orbit.

  • steve

    Dread
    Why is the Chinese threat any greater than the American one? Or do you believe in the superior benevolance of the American government? Perhaps we should consult the Iraqi’s on that?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Steve: “Why is the Chinese threat any greater than the American one?”

    For starters, the Chinese tested a dedicated anti-satellite weapon — purpose built, from nose to toes. Implicit in this is that they plan on blowing satellites out of the sky at some future date. They secretly launched it, took a goodly amount of time to ‘fess up, despite the evidence and have made no credible move to clarify their intentions and have basically made Earth orbit a bit more dangerous with the junk left in the wake of their test. Oh, and their proposed treaty is a joke.

    Now, let us contrast that with the American test…

    The American system, on the other hand, was a one-off — a three stage missile interceptor re-programmed for a one-shot mission. Could it be repeated? Yup, but it would take time, again, to prep and re-program another interceptor. The test was done openly, with significant advance warning. Anyone who wanted to watch had the opportunity. There was a legitimate rationale for the test — let’s face it, the same collection of mugs wringing their hands over the test would be wringing their hands about the fuel if the US didn’t intercept the satellite — and the intercept was done in such a fashion that the resulting wreckage was, in all probability, eliminated.

    So, who do you think you should worry about — the one who acts openly or the one who acts like a thief in the night?

    Steve: “Or do you believe in the superior benevolance of the American government?”

    Quite the contrary — I simply distrust the Chinese more — again, who should I worry about, the guy who tells me what he is doing and acts in the metaphorical light of day, or the one who acts like a proverbial thief in the night?

    Steve: “Perhaps we should consult the Iraqi’s on that? ”

    Against, say, the populations of Mongolia and Tibet,as well as the followers of Falun-gong, perhaps? Throw in the survivors of the “Great Leap Forward,” Tienamian Square and the North Koreans sent back to dwell in “re-education camps?” How about them, Steve? What dyou think they would have to say on the matter of “Chinese benevolance?”

  • steve

    DC
    Why would the Chinese need to announce anything to anyone if it was occuring with in their territorial lands unlike the Amewricans who were doing their little thing outside of their territorial preserve

    As for the debris field, is it geo-syncronous above China and would the debris field have been left there on purpose to keep anyone from operating spy sate;ites in this area?

    One of the reasons the yanks were so careful about trying to remove the debris field in their little operation was so that it would not interfere with the flight paths of its other spy satelites hardly benevolant at all so much as its self preserving

    As for the actions of the Chinese government I never said they were benevolent or kind or even decent just that the yanks are hardly free of blood on their hands

    As well why do the yankees think that they have the right to invade other countries and murder their populations, and build space based weapons for their own self preservations and yet think they have the right to dictate to others how they can act and what means they can use in their own self preservation.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    steve: “As for the actions of the Chinese government I never said they were benevolent or kind or even decent just that the yanks are hardly free of blood on their hands.”

    Actually, Steve, you ask “Or do you believe in the superior benevolance of the American government? ”

    Which, given you fairly rapid retreat, would suggest even you acknowledge with the superior malevolence of the Chinese regieme.

    Steve: “As well why do the yankees think that they have the right to invade other countries and murder their populations, and build space based weapons for their own self preservations and yet think they have the right to dictate to others how they can act and what means they can use in their own self preservation.”

    Ah, the retreat to irrational aggression — that was quick.

    If the Chinese militarization of space is appropriate and seemingly, as you seem to suggest above, why shouldn’t the US militarize space as a response, Steve? You seem to ready to accept one and not the other.

  • DM

    I’m with you DC, the Chinese test was a lot more significant in that it was not previously announced, and used a brand-new technology simply to destroy a target for the sake of it. It also showed a massive disregard for more or less everyone else, by littering space with a shed load of debris. It’s not just a question of being messy either – a fragment of maerial even a few inches across can cause fatal damage to an orbiting satellite, be it military, communications, weather or GPS. All things considered I think the USA made a better job of it.

  • BfB

    Wow, great rational response to a tinfoil hatted America hater. I’m buyin’ a lottery ticket!

  • BfB

    As I was watching the wonder of the eclipse last night, my thoughts went to the whole intelligent design thing. Quite a wonderful universe we’re in. I choose to look at it from a much higher level than personal travails. I’ve had more than my share, but I’m here happy and mostly healthy. Intelligent design is a misnomer imho. If you want to complain about something we know very little about, picking nits would be the way I guess. Gets back to that whole faith thing. I watched the last shuttle launch, and landing, from a friends place in Merritt Island…….intelligent design fits much better with this kind of stuff.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    who do you think you should worry about—the one who acts openly or the one who acts like a thief in the night?

    So who did people worry about more last time around?

    This is just another space race – commies do something, US panics, does same thing. No-one wants to lose face.

    Now that everyone has proved they have a special missile to compensate for a small willy, we can all get home in time for tea.

  • BfB

    BG
    I get it. You EU types are afraid to defend yourselves because you’ve got big willies. Makes sense now.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DM: “It’s not just a question of being messy either – a fragment of maerial even a few inches across can cause fatal damage to an orbiting satellite, be it military, communications, weather or GPS.”

    Which reminds me, Steve was incorrect in his “geo-synchrnous orbit” argument — the explosion would have imparted energy to the wreckage, sending them on fairly random vectors.

    BG: “This is just another space race – commies do something, US panics, does same thing. No-one wants to lose face. ”

    Then why make more of it that it really is, BG?

    BG: “Now that everyone has proved they have a special missile to compensate for a small willy, we can all get home in time for tea. ”

    Which harkens back to an old DC Comics bad-guy(from “Doom Patrol,” iirc) “The Codpiece,” of whom the less said the better.