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Fwd = High-Tech Warfare Could Litter Space with Debris

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www.space.com/news/spaceagencies/space_war_debris_010328_wg.html?Enews=y Original Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://www.space.com/news/spaceagencies/space_war_debris_010328_wg.html?Enews=y
      Original Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 13:15:22 -0500 (EST)

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      General Warns: High-Tech Warfare Could Litter Space with Debris

      By Charles Aldinger
      Reuters News Agency

      posted: 07:01 pm ET

      28 March 2001

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Warfare high above Earth could litter space
      with speeding debris that might rip into commercial satellites and
      space shuttles, the U.S. military's space chief warned on Wednesday.

      Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart said instant intelligence and
      communications were so important to the United States and other
      nations that future enemies might consider blowing up each other's
      satellites.

      "First and foremost, I'm concerned about the debris in space and not
      knowing what's going to happen once you blow it [a satellite] up,"
      with a projectile, the head of the U.S. Space Command told reporters.

      "I have to admit that I would also be concerned about the threshold
      that you cross if you do that ... what it might mean in terms of
      weapons in space and other space activities," the general added.

      Eberhart said the military was already tracking some 9,000 orbiting
      objects, some as tiny as a fountain pen, and that commercial
      satellites and shuttles were threatened by junk moving at thousands of
      miles [kilometers] an hour.

      Paint fleck "can ruin your day"

      "Even a [speeding] fleck of paint can ruin your day if you are in the
      shuttle," he told reporters.

      Eberhart, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command for
      the United States and Canada, said the Pentagon was also increasingly
      worried about the ability of China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq and even
      "terrorist" groups and drug cartels to disrupt computers using
      electronic "cyber warfare."

      The United States has "become so reliant on our computer systems, our
      information, that as we train and exercise and are involved in
      contingency operations we have come to take those capabilities ... for
      granted," he said.

      The United States is in the process of developing a space policy,
      including a decision on whether anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons should
      be used in the blackness beyond the atmosphere.

      Eberhart said he thinks that destroying another country's
      communications or spy satellites using a projectile would be "a
      last-ditch option."

      Negotiations, disrupting satellite links electronically or even
      bombing ground communications stations might be preferable to
      launching weapons in space, he said.

      "I would much rather use negotiations. I would much rather interfere
      with the uplinks and downlinks, I would much rather ... bomb a ground
      station," Eberhart told reporters.
      _________________________________________________________________

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