In case you've missed it this morning
, China has successfully shot down one of their satellites with a ballistic missile.
This reminds me of a story that a Russian friend of mine told me once. We were discussing the space-technology buildup, led by Ronald Reagan, that ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union, and he mentioned that there were some tricks that the Russians were up to that weren't "generally" known.
One of the technologies he related to me was a mechanism by which the Soviets could destroy all of the satellites in a general area, by detonating a bomb in space which would launch ball bearings at a high velocity in all directions. The most intriguing part of his story? The Soviets have already
placed these types of "killer satellites" in orbit.
The other thing that's interesting, which is what reminded me of the tale, is that the Chinese satellite was reportedly knocked down by exactly this type of device, except it was launched on a ballistic platform and detonated immediately.
Is this another case of the Chinese "procuring" technology from the Russians which benefit their military? Were the Russians active participants in the development of this system? Only time will tell. In the mean time, I sure hope that the gearheads over at Lockheed are boning up on their space warfare post-haste
Not being an aerospace engineer, I can't attest to the veracity of his story, but it was definitely interesting. My friend also had plenty of stories to tell about the peculiarities of Soviet manufacturing as well, but I'll save those for a later date.