February 15, 2008

USA Escalates Arms Race In Space

About that wayward American spy satellite the Pentagon wants to shoot down, from an article on Wired.com blog:

"My real concern is that this is simply a knee-jerk reaction made by the administration in response to the purported threat by the Chinese. Since the April 2007 ASAT [anti-satellite] test, there have been rumors and whispers going around that the Administration and like-minded individuals are looking for more sticks (instead of carrots) to use against China. While this "shoot down" is not a direct action against China, it would be a clear signal that the US can possess an active ASAT capability at any time if it so desires. That is a serious development as the previous US ASAT system using F-15s was mothballed in the 1980's.

There are many significant political ramifications that would happen as a result of this. The US has been berating the Chinese on their ASAT test but now demonstrate that it is okay as long as it occurs at a low enough altitude to prevent long-lasting debris and can "save lives". This is close to an implied "ok" for the US and other nations to conduct more ASAT tests, which could open another arms race. I am also certain that Russian and China would also see this as a slap in the face as they are trying to revive the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space treaty discussion and ban on space weapons. It would further negatively affect the relations between them and the US. Which could lead to increased tensions, arms buildup, etc etc etc. Nothing good for anyone outside of arms manufacturers and politicians that need a bogeyman to scare people into voting for them. "

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