Friday, January 19, 2007

It's OK For US To Do It, But Not The Chinese

CNN reports that China successfully used a missile to destroy an orbiting satellite in a test conducted January 11. US governmental officials said that the test could undermine relations with the West and pose a threat to satellites important to the U.S. military.

According to a spokesman for the National Security Council, the ground-based, medium-range ballistic missile knocked an old Chinese weather satellite from its orbit about 537 miles above Earth. The missile carried a "kill vehicle" and destroyed the satellite by ramming it.

The United States has been able to bring down satellites with missiles since the mid-1980s. In its own test, the U.S. military knocked a satellite out of orbit in 1985.

Under a space policy authorized by President Bush in August, the United States asserts a right to "freedom of action in space" and says it will "deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so."

The policy includes the right to "deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests."

I hadn't understood that the US had laid claim to the totality of outer space. I guess we'd better add China to the Axis of Evil of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

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