back to article Pull! Rocket Lab fires off another potential target as India joins exclusive satellite shooting club

While US vice president Mike Pence directed NASA to put boots on the Moon before Trump's second term 2024 is out, last week demonstrated how hard space can be. Electron launches (finally) After repeated delays, Rocket Lab, proclaimer of the slogan "Frequent and reliable launch is now a reality", successfully got another …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    I was fooled. But not today.

    1. Baldrickk

      by what?

  2. Chris G

    Boots on the moon

    I have seen smarter sock puppets. I understand now why he's running behind the Jaffa King.

  3. vtcodger Silver badge

    Not to worry

    Shooting down a satellite looks not to be much more difficult than launching a satellite into a desired orbit. It's just a matter of launching into a desired orbit that intersects the target's orbit at the time the target passes by. It's less difficult than,for example, mooring with the ISS -- after all unlike the ISS situation, there's no need for the satellite killer to precisely match velocities with the target. Really, any nation capable of launching a satellite could probably shoot up a low orbiting satellite if they truly wished to. Per Google search, twelve countries whose have put satellites up on their own launch vehicles -- USSR, USA, France, Japan, China, UK, India, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Iran and North Korea plus the European Space Alliance.

    My guess is that the USSR, US, and China at least probably are already prepared to disable everything orbiting not belonging to themselves they think to be a militarily useful vehicle (photointelligence, communications intercept, launch detection, radio relay, probably geolocation) on a few hours notice.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Not to worry

      The yanks are getting reliably good at it now though.

      They've just tested a pair of satellite kill vehicles against an incoming ballistic missile. First one hit and destroyed it, then the follow up shot aimed for the largest bit of debris left and splatted that too for good measure.

      Of course, it was their test missile, so they knew where it was supposed to be, but still, hitting it twice on an incoming trajectory is pretty impressive.

    2. n10cities

      Re: Not to worry

      Piece of cake. Like Scotty said "It'd be like jumping off a bridge, into your shot glass" How hard can it be?

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Was the Chinese big red button not working?

    I'm sure most flight controllers would have hit the 'Do Not Press' button after the first big 'hump' in the Chinese rocket's trajectory and caused an Earth shattering kaboom. Where was the Earth shattering kaboom?

    1. n10cities

      Re: Was the Chinese big red button not working?

      That was my thought as well. Don't these folks have Range Safety capability or they just let an errant rocket fall where it may? SMH. Hopefully that rocket didn't fall on someone's head.

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    Weeks, months, years, decades

    Some of the debris of the Indian ASAT mission might very well have gotten blasted into very high orbits, where it will remain for years, if not decades. The resulting debris cloud of 2 vehicles smacking into one another at several thousand meters per second is unpredictable and very energetic. Parts CAN end up in highly eccentric orbits, carrying a lot of energy.

    ASAT willy waving in this way is simply irresponsible. (Though less stupid than the Chinese ASAT test.)

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Re: Weeks, months, years, decades

      I'd imagine that any debris flung high would reenter the atmosphere within hours, because the perigee would be subterranean.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Weeks, months, years, decades

        If the impact only accelerated it at the hit point the perigee would be at the impact altitude, apogee could be anything. On lighter objects solar wind and geomagnetic effects can then do funny things to orbits.

        1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

          Re: Weeks, months, years, decades

          Nah. At perigee the upwards component of the velocity is zero, so if parts have been flung higher by the impact their perigee must be lower than point of impact.

  6. Mark 85

    Congrats to El Reg

    I note that this article made the Google News Feed today (Apr. 1) in Science. A bit of a rare occurrence for Google to link to El Reg and thus deserves beverage of choice.

  7. mhenriday

    But if things ever escalate to that point,

    orbital debris will be the least of our problems.



  8. Allan George Dyer

    OneSpace amateur video...

    I like the part at 0:20, where the passing soldier notices something, and the camera is hastily dropped behind the heads of the crowd.

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