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Debris from China's Space Weapon May Pose Danger

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posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 10:03 PM
The new Chinese weapon that a few weeks ago destroyed one of their own weather satellites has left over 500 baseball-sized pieces of space junk orbiting in the atmosphere that may pose a danger to American satellites and spacecraft.

The Chinese test, carried out on Jan. 11, was at once complex and very simple. An old weather satellite, passing 537 miles overhead, was targeted by a missile launched from a Chinese military base.

But what followed was chaos in space. As of today, Kelso reports that American radar is tracking at least 525 pieces of debris from the collision -- each at least the size of a baseball.

The pieces are gradually spreading out in a ring around the Earth, creating a vast area where spacecraft face increased danger of being hit.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This article emphasizes the need for the international community to insist on responsibility in space. If China's weapon is going to pose a collateral danger such as this, the international community must take steps to neutralize the problem.

[edit on 2-2-2007 by UM_Gazz]

posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 10:19 PM
Didn't they already say that we (The USA) have already tested such weapons before? Was there any outcome or after affects such as whats happening now?

posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 10:42 PM
There are over 600, 000 objects larger than 1 cm across in orbit, all of which pose a huge danger to the artificial satellites we put up there.

To say that the Chinese test produced undue amounts of orbital debris is ridiculous. At orbital velocity, a speeding match head is going to kill you just as much as something the size of a baseball would.

Obviously, the media is going to hype this up, and most likely omit the huge number of debris the U.S. has contributed.

posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 10:58 PM
I dont see how 525 baseballs can make a threatening ring around tens of thousands of miles of space. How long would it take before alot of it just falls into the atmosphere and burn up?

posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 11:22 PM
While I know jack squat about the xenosphere and the other subsequent decreasing levels of gravity of our atmosphere. Wouldn't an earth based weapon with the necessary kinetic energy to break earth's gravity knock the debris out of any semblance of being affected by the gravity of Earth, and subsequently float into space with the aforementioned kinetic energy as a source of movement away from earth??

posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 11:28 PM
THey are saying the stuff floating about could damage OTHER satellites.
maybe bump into one, break an antenna then boom, down goes FOX.

hey.. wait a minute...........

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 01:41 AM
Isn't this just pure propaganda designed to put a negative slant on a Chinese accomplishment?

If China's weapon is going to pose a collateral danger such as this, the international community must take steps to neutralize the problem.

Isn't this the sort of mindset those sowing the information want to harvest?

Am I too cynical?

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 09:06 PM
Found this article that says their is nothing the US could do stop a missile launched by China from hitting a satellite.

China Space Attack: Unstoppable

China has shown it can destroy a satellite in orbit. What could the U.S. do to stop Beijing, if it decided to attack an American orbiter next? Short answer: nothing.

It takes about 20 minutes to fire a ballistic missile into space, and have its "kill vehicle" strike a satellite at hypersonic speed -- over 15,000 miles per hour -- in low-earth orbit. That's far too quick for anything in the American arsenal to respond, in time. There's "no possibility of shielding" a relatively-fragile satellite against such a strike. "And it is impractical [for a satellite] to carry enough fuel to maneuver away even if you had specific and timely warning of an attack," Center for Defense Information analyst Theresea Hitchens notes.

It has also been estimated that China's satellite missile test may have unleashed over 2 million fragments of space debris.

The Chinese trial could "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," the Union of Concerned Scientists' David Wright notes on the Arms Control Wonk blog. "Roughly half of the debris fragments with size 1 cm or larger would stay in orbit for more than a decade."

This thread should be named:
Debri from China's Space Weapon Does Pose Danger

What kind of damage can a 1mm metal chip do?


A 1mm metal chip could do as much damage as a .22-caliber long rifle bullet
Bits this size don't generally pose a large threat to spacecraft, but can erode more sensitive surfaces and disrupt missions.

How about a piece of space debri the size of a pea?

A pea-sized ball moving this fast is as dangerous as a 400-lb safe travelling at 60 mph
Debris this large may penetrate a spacecraft. If this happens through a critical component, such as the flight computer or propellant tank, this could be fatal.

And a piece of debri the size of a tennis ball?

A metal sphere the size of a tennis ball is as lethal as 25 sticks of dynamite
This debris will penetrate and seriously damage a spacecraft.

So it seems to me that China would have known how dangerous space debri is and just didn't care about it.

The US anti satellite missile test in 1985, according to this article caused more than 250 pieces of debri in space.

China Space Attack: Unstoppable

The Chinese test, now confirmed by the National Security Council, would be the first successful anti-satellite weapons trial since 1985, when the United States used an F-15 and a kill vehicle to destroy the Solwind research satellite. And that trial was dangerous -- not just for its target, but for nearly everything orbiting in space, Hitchens notes. Even small pieces of space debris can be lethal to spacecraft. The '85 test "resulted in more than 250 pieces of debris, the last of which deorbited in 2002."

China knew the dangers the debri would cause after their test but, I guess, just didn't care.

[edit on 2/2/07 by Keyhole]

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 09:23 PM
i don't think the problem is "space junk"

the main problem is what china can do with these missiles that can be launched into space...

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 09:29 PM

Originally posted by DYepes
I dont see how 525 baseballs can make a threatening ring around tens of thousands of miles of space. How long would it take before alot of it just falls into the atmosphere and burn up?

Someday they will fall into the atmosphere. But possibly they will still keep orbiting the earth like the satellite in question for many years to come. And they have been scattered. The problem is that the relative speeds up there are so large, and because of the lack of air the resistance so little, that if one piece of junk like that were to hit, say, the shuttle, it would at best cause major aesthetic damage and at worse tear a hole into it or destroy one of its wings. Even though the odds are low, the situation is so dangerous that it can't be allowed to stand like that.

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 09:31 PM
And a further example of how seriously people are taking this: they have moved the international space station to avoid a potential collision.

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