If Norad or the US air force didn't have real-time tracking of the UARS
as it approached the west coast last night, you've got to wonder if they
have any real ability to detect a ground or submarine-launched russian
or chinese ICBM in a similar manner.
After all, then had precise time and position information as to where
this thing should have been.
They are claiming that it came down in the pacific ocean. Obviously
they have no real ability to detect this relatively large object, with a
shape that is probably ideal to detect with radar (as opposed to a
If you know the answer to "what happens to a misshpen object when it
encounters the atmosphere" then tell us.
If you're speculating that there is something that happens when "a
misshpen object when it encounters the atmosphere" then the onus is on
you to do the research.
This thing would have been on the very edge of the atmosphere when it
was off the coast of Washington state. Radar can detect objects 100
miles in altitude for hundreds if not a few thousand miles away.
Why didn't they have an AWAX (sp?) plane in the air at the time?
Mine is a valid question.
You're the one that's insane by dismissing it.
You two are sort of talking at eachother about different issues.
You're talking about being able to track it. He's talking about being
able to predict where it will go and when.
When it starts encountering the atmosphere, it will start to tumble,
spin and "skip" making it impossible to predict with any certainty
where it will land. You shouldn't need a government study to tell you
this... Wad up (loosely) a piece of paper and throw it across the
On the other side, do you expect UARS to announce (truthfully) how
good their tracking is? Anyone who does should be replaced and
You may have overlooked that "Home guy" seems to be "Harry II" as there
isn't much he likes about the US.
But as you noted what gets fed to the public is a subset of actual
capability. To draw the conclusion that the Air Force and NORAD had no
clue based on public sources shows how far someone will go to express
I worked for a company that was making a "useful specialty product".
This was during an event in the space program where every talking head
was reporting "there is no information" about a specific thing while we
were reviewing recordings of the information that "didn't exist".
This is why so many people complain about waste in the federal
government. Why were people wasting their time reviewing information
that didn't exist?
Just kidding. I agree that a lot of things should be kept secret,
even from me.
What a load of horse shit logic you have there. Both of you.
The US has nothing to gain by projecting (to Russia and China) that the
US *does not* have the capability to detect large projectiles as they
approach or re-enter from orbit along the western coastline if infact
the US *does* have such an ability. Under the MAD doctrine of war, you
always want your enemy to know that you can detect offensive action,
because that in and of itself is a deterrent for the enemy to start an
offence if they falsely believe you won't detect it.
And if the US can detect objects like this, then the Russians and
Chinese probably can do the same, so you're not hiding anything of any
stragic value by feigning that you didn't detect this satellite as it
entered the airspace over Portland.
If the US couldn't detect it, then yes you don't want to admit that
deficiency and ordinary you'd never be called on it. Except when a
satellite is tumbling toward you and forces you to reveal that you don't
have this detection capability.
How does that force them to reveal anything? Even perfect tracking of
the intact satellite would only give people a few minutes warning and
a very broad idea of where the chunks MIGHT land (maybe within a swath
a hundred by a thousand miles (WAGOMP)). There would be almost no
point to making an announcement other than to give people a reason to
panic for a few minutes before nothing interesting happened...
P.S. Personally, if they announced an expected debris area, and my
house were dead center, the main thing I would do to prepare would be
to put a fresh tape in the video camera and take a chair out to the
middle of the yard just on the remote chance that some flaming bit of
debris came close enough to be seen.
You make a decent point about MAD, but they already know we can track
(more like predict) ICBMs. But we might not necessarily want them to
know if we can detect something that they haven't admitted to having
(but then we might, debatable).
It's also not out of the realm o possibility that NORAD didn't
particularly care. At any given time, there are a few thousand
passenger jets over the US (maybe 50-250 tons each). A few hundred
pounds of satellite debris is really not very interesting from a
defense perspective (except possibly as a test of capabilities).
For one thing, the tracking is primarily of launches. We've got excellent
technology for detecting ICBM and ground-to-air missiles when they launch
and their probable target based on launch parameters. That's where the big
threat lies for now. No nation I know of publicly admits to having
space-based nuclear weapons but you never know. That's why we wanted to
base our missile shield close enough to Russia to make them nervous. The
time to catch an ICBM is right after launch, over the attacker's home
country and well before the payload MIRVs (splits into many warheads on the
way down). MIRV = Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicle.
They aren't going to reveal the details of their tracking accuracy.
Besides, tracking an aerodynamically shaped missile under powered flight is
WAY different than an old satellite with lots of protruding parts "skipping"
the atmosphere, having bits torn off in flight.
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