"look, we have big missiles that hit their target in space... wooo!"
they probably didn't want other countries getting hold of it, i can't see why that is a big surprise to some people.....
People have been firing rockets into space accurately for years. Hell, people made it to the moon and back after all
The only difference is the payload - I'm pretty sure comets / asteroids have been shot at for 'scientific purposes' before anyway.
ambers - the toxic fuel will burn up if it doesn't float away.
Trix, LL - I think that despite all the disclaimers, you guys are right on. "We can hit an object 300 miles up, that's going 17,000 miles per hour, with a missile - here's the best part! - on the first go!"
The first time I heard the story about this satellite they said its memory could survive the crash and holds info that the gov'ment doesn't want people to know they have. Then the story changed to the toxic fuel, and no one batted an eye.
Still and all, pretty impressive hit.
Yeah, I figured that this morning. I came to the conclusion that pretty much all re-entering satellites burn up in the atmosphere with the only exception of those that are actually designed to survive re-entry. Whatever was on board would either survive re-entry, or be burned up in the atmosphere, regardless of being shot down. Besides, why would a satellite use such a toxic fuel substance when no others do?
I think it's pretty well known that anti-missile technology is advanced enough to target an object outside of the atmosphere and traveling at speed, especially to the Russians and Chinese.
I reckon the satellite was indeed carrying something the US didn't want them to have.
Satellites can be easily tracked across the sky with nothing but a telescope to those that know how, so if it had been a spy satellite, the Chinese and Russians were already aware of it, but not making noise. I'm pretty sure they'd have just scooped it up, gone 'look what we have', the Americans would have apologised, and that would have been that, just like before witht he shot down stealth bomber and spy plane.
My current line of thinking leads me to the conspiracy theory that the satellite would have had to have been something far more incriminating, that they Americans definitely didn't want the Russians and Chinese getting their hands on - it'd have to be military, defensive or offensive, despite currently being 'illegal' due to space purportedly being a neutral zone.
Besides, Reagan admitted in the 80s that the US had space borne military capability (albeit only for defence, but if you can get a defensive missile system in space, you sure as hell can get an offensive one up there too). But this was later swept under the carpet as a program for 'in development space born defense systems'.
Of course, that was over 25 years ago - I'm pretty sure even if things weren't space borne then, they probably are now.