India Shot Down A Satellite. What Does That Mean For The Rest Of The World?
Excerpt: India has shot down a live satellite in space as part of a successful test of new missile technology, prime minister Narendra Modi has announced. The operation, dubbed Mission Shakti, makes India part of a “super league” of nations to have achieved such a feat, Mr Modi said, alongside the US, Russia and China. The first two logistical questions that leap to mind have already been answered and this didn’t turn out to be a worst case scenario. India didn’t shoot down somebody else’s live satellite. It was one of their own and it was probably launched fairly recently precisely for this purpose. The other troubling idea was that they were blowing up a satellite and dumping even more high-velocity junk into orbit. They didn’t. This bird was low enough that it will allegedly fall into the atmosphere and burn up in a few weeks. (...) The problem is that we’re entering a period when skeet shooting satellites may be seen as an indirect, non-lethal option for a military strike or counterstrike. Since you’re not literally burning up cities and killing lots of people (at least directly), a tense conflict situation could turn into a prolonged game of low-orbit whack-a-mole. And we don’t have any sort of defensive capabilities for our satellites, so the only “proportional response” would probably be to shoot down more of theirs. (Whoever “they” wind up being in this scenario.) (This has scary implications: those satellites not only provide us with GPS, and telecom, they also connect many medical devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, infusion pumps, et cetera. It would be more than merely inconvenient if one of them stopped working suddenly. EDIT: This link is to a more “readable” article covering the same story written by a local in and for Indian news. The Indian government is taking it very seriously and are quite pleased. It may also be a thumb in the eye for China. https://english.
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