The Pentagon plans to knock one of our own out of the sky.
- By Paul Hoversten
- AirSpaceMag.com, February 14, 2008
(Page 2 of 2)
"There's a very large amount of uncertainty in predicting a landing zone" for a spacecraft, said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. A month ahead of time, the best models can only be accurate to within three days. At 10 days out, the uncertainty drops to a day. On landing day, that drops further to within two hours. "Almost anything we can do [on shoot-down day] will turn out to be either neutral…or better. Nothing we can do will make the situation worse."
Griffin and Cartwright both said the satellite shoot-down has no comparison with China's anti-satellite test in January 2007, in which an object fired from Earth smashed into a Chinese weather satellite (see "Satellite Smashers," February/March 2008). "First, we're notifying the world that we're doing this," said Cartwright. "The Chinese test left debris that will be up there for 20 to 40 years. All our debris will be down in a day."