9 thoughts on “The Russian ASAT Debris”

  1. I wonder if they are doing this to deny space superiority. Since our military uses satellites a lot more than they do, if they blow up all their own satellites it ends up hurting us more than them.

    1. Expanding on David S’s comment, they may have done this to demonstrate what they could/would do if they don’t get their way in contested political situations. Therefore, ASAT “tests” should be considered an act of war.

  2. Space-X has some 1800-ish satellites on orbit. Both the CCP and Putin may want to think about that.

    1. Given Starlink satellites have sufficient situational awareness and propulsion for collision avoidance they might be hard to shoot down. Which gives rise to the question, how hard would it be for Musk to command his satellites to take out everything else in LEO, if it came to that?

      1. How does one “take out everything else in LEO” without creating a ton more debris? I don’t see scorched earth (err, scorched space) as Elon’s style.

        1. Very gently.

          In the imagined scenario of Russia or China taking out satellites with their debris causing ASATs, the damage may already be done and any debris caused by retaliation meaningless.

          1. “Very gently” usually means a ton of delta-V to even get near — especially if it’s in a different plane or altitude. And unless those Starlink have a ton of webcams, articulating arms and/or grasping mechanism, it’s going to be darn hard to “take out” anything.

            Also, multiple organizations around the world track orbits early and often for fun and profit(?), as demonstrated by the crew ISS reacting to the ASAT debris very shortly after the recent detonation. Any maneuvering of a starlink near anything else will set off a lot of notifications both internally and to SpaceX/Starlink notifying them of the chances for close calls.

  3. I love all the diagrams showing “debris spead vectors.” Like the satellite stopped dead in its orbit and then exploded. And, of course, just as with the images showing Starlink “streaks” covering the night sky, most people are too dumb/ignorant to know that.

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