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Artist rendering of gravity tractor - image courtesy of B612 Foundation
DailyTech's International Space Updates for January 2007

Some experts seem to agree that it is only a matter of time before an asteroid or meteor strikes Earth in the future. While millions of them are aimlessly floating around in space, 200,000 to 400,000 of them come within range Earth, according to reports. That is why NASA astronaut Edward Lu wants NASA to deploy a spacecraft which would be able to divert asteroids so they will not run into the planet. In theory, the craft's gravitational pull would change the asteroid's orbit. UK researchers are planning on using a superior telescope located in Hawaii to help locate Earth-threatening asteroids.

India has successfully recovered the Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1), a capsule that has been orbiting around the Earth at an altitude of 637km. The SRE-1 floated in space for 11 days before splashing into the Bay of Bengal earlier in the week. The Indian space agency used the SRE-1 to test its ability to accurately track and recover a space capsule landing back on Earth. The head of the team that created the capsule said that “the mission is a great success.”

Chinese space officials still continue to claim that its anti-satellite test is not a hostile act. The Chinese government confirmed that on Jan. 11 it launched a missile aimed at destroying an aging weather satellite, and the test has the United States and Japan worried. While the Chinese previously discussed its plans with U.S. Officials, both the Japanese and U.S. Governments want clarification on the future intentions of the Chinese.  With some form of a space war on the minds of many government officials, this recent incident only has more people worried.



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RE: 20 Years Later
By masher2 (blog) on 1/24/2007 11:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
The German economy in 1938 depended heavily on exports as well. That didn't stop them from starting WW2. Nations very often don't act in their own best interests when it comes to war. I'm not implying that China will start WW3, of course. I'm simply pointing out that economic dependency is no sure indicator of geopolitical behavior.


RE: 20 Years Later
By tmarat on 1/25/2007 3:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
Both USA and Russia have this capability to shoot down a satellite. As far as I know they tested such systems in mid 80s. And are now working on next generation systems based on lasers.

Russia and China had been trying to get USA to sign an agreement on demilitarizations of space. USA so far always avoided such agreements. In the latest strategy (or something like that) USA outlined its ambitions and actually stated it has the right to stop other nations from accessing space.


RE: 20 Years Later
By cheetah2k on 1/25/2007 4:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
USA outlined its ambitions and actually stated it has the right to stop other nations from accessing space.


You have to be joking! I'd love to see some references to this! Although, I wouldn't put it past the US to take this seriously - just look at their US biased foreign policies!


RE: 20 Years Later
By ivanv4 on 1/25/2007 8:09:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Both USA and Russia have this capability to shoot down a satellite. As far as I know they tested such systems in mid 80s. And are now working on next generation systems based on lasers.


Thats correct, USA researched ASAT for this porposes, mounting a missile on a special F-15.


RE: 20 Years Later
By masher2 (blog) on 1/25/2007 9:46:00 AM , Rating: 2
> "USA...stated it has the right to stop other nations from accessing space.

Utter and complete rubbish. Allow me to quote from the US State Dept website:
quote:
This is why our new policy reiterates the long-standing principle that the U.S. is committed to the free access and use of space by all nations ...
http://www.state.gov/t/us/rm/78679.htm


RE: 20 Years Later
By tmarat on 1/25/2007 10:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Only last August, President Bush laid out a new US national space policy which said Washington would "preserve its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in space" and "dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so".

It also threatened to "deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests". "

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6278867.st...


RE: 20 Years Later
By masher2 (blog) on 1/25/2007 10:39:21 AM , Rating: 1
Deterring someone from attacking US capabilities is a far cry from denying a nation the right to access space itself. Essentially, the US said no more than, if you hoist a space weapon for use against us, you can expect that we'll shoot it down.


RE: 20 Years Later
By tmarat on 1/25/2007 12:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
It also threatened to "deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests". "

That includes spying satellites. Or any satellite that can take pictures, might even be agricultural.

China shot down that satellite to pressure USA to sign a treaty banning putting weaponry in space. All hooray from US government is hypocritical, for me at least. If you do not want anybody developing weaponry that can be used in or from space, do not do it yourself. Or at least sign some treaties putting limits on that.


RE: 20 Years Later
By masher2 (blog) on 1/25/2007 1:16:04 PM , Rating: 1
> "That includes spying satellites. Or any satellite that can take pictures, might even be agricultural."

If you read that statement as meaning the US would be randomly shooting down foreign spy satellites, you misinterpreted it, that's all.

And, as others have pointed out, the main objection to China's demolition of a satellite wasn't the capability itself, but the vast cloud of debris it created. Is China going to pay for any satellites it disables? I don't think so.


RE: 20 Years Later
By tmarat on 1/26/2007 4:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
That statement does not mean US will shoot foreign satellites in a random way. But if a conflict does occur with a smaller nation, US government will find various excuses to shooting down communication satellites (saying they are used for military purposes or something else). It won't be a problem considering original justification for war in Iraq were WMD and majority of USA population believed it. It also means USA does not want any treaties putting limits on space warfare.

In the bigger frame, the worrying thing for the USA were not the debris, but the fact of China getting more and more advanced. Worrying is the proposition that in a possible conflict China might be able to shoot the US reconnaissance satellites out of the sky.


RE: 20 Years Later
By iNGEN on 2/20/2007 2:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
10-20 years from now, when the terrorist threat (irregardless of whether you think it is real or imagined) has been eliminated the next population motivating threat to be addressed will be asteroids. There is always a "grave threat" posed to the free peoples of the world. It sounds funny now, but mark my words, the next "threat" will be asteroids.


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