Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shooting down satellites? Uh…sure…as long as the weather is right…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:54 AM Permalink

Our highly vaunted missile defense system, thirty years and trillions of dollars in development, you-know-the-one-on-which-we're-betting all-our-chips-that-this-missile-defense-system-will guarantee-our-future-safety, the one we're risking an all-new confrontation with the Russians and the Chinese over, Reagan's Star Wars missile defense wet-dream, the missile defense system our Benevolent Leader wants to use to protect freedom everywhere has encountered somewhat nefarious circumstances that will limit its usage and impact: IT WON'T WORK IN BAD WEATHER.

From the WaPo:
High seas in the north Pacific may force the Navy to wait another day before launching a heat-seeking missile on a mission to shoot down a wayward U.S. spy satellite, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Weather conditions are one of many factors that U.S. military officers are taking into account as they decide whether to proceed with the mission Wednesday or to put it off, according to a senior military officer who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on condition that he not be identified.

The officer said the assumption had been that the mission would go forward Wednesday night, unless conditions are determined to be unfavorable. Earlier in the day, bad weather in the north Pacific was causing rough seas, which may be a problem for the USS Lake Erie, a cruiser armed with two SM-3 missiles.

"We don't anticipate the weather being good enough today," the officer said, adding that conditions could improve enough in the hours ahead to permit it to go forward. A final decision would be made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Alluding to the high seas and strong winds, the officer added, "It has not been enough for us to say `no'" and put the launch mission off until Thursday. But it would take improved conditions to proceed.
So I guess that, besides one repeated failure after another, successful hits on reentering satellites only among the very best of circumstances (usually with a guiding beacon in the missile to be shot down), after decades of warnings that the system won't work, even 'though bush is willing to start yet another war by placing the systems in the Russian and Chinese spheres of influence against the will of those countries, we now know that Star Wars is a "fair weather defense system."

As long as the weather is perfect, the seas smooth and glassy, and a marker beacon in the satellite or missile we want to shoot down, well, everything might go just fine.

But during stormy weather, nuclear war, or with hundreds of missiles raining down upon us from the sky, well, the old-fashioned, highly technical term for it used to be, "We're screwed!"

Trust your government! Move along! Nothing to see here! Much less anything to shoot down.

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