Thursday, February 21, 2008

Satellite shot down successfully

Here's the conversation with Mrs. Phoenix:

Her: So, what's with this headline, US military shoots down satellite? Is there something to it beyond the fact that the Navy wants to play with the big missiles?

Me: Well, hard to know. I read that there are four steps to the life cycle of a satellite, and that this one failed after the first stage. So it launched, but can't steer itself down to a harmless landing, and that's why it needs to be shot down. (long pause) But now that you ask, I wonder what motive the US military might have to take delivery on a spy satellite which had not been tested on all its critical systems?

And they launched it without checking it adequately. And now they get to show off their spy-satellite-assault capabilities.

Which I think may have been sold to them by the same company that built the failed satellite.

Nah, nothing to see here.

1 comment:

Stork said...

Well, IMHO this failure to perform adequate capability checking prior to launch has something to do with wishful thinking, which happens a lot to people and entities at certain stages of development. For example, my 5 year old informs me that she spent the day having tea at the Biltmore in the library. The fact that the Biltmore is 350+ miles away, it is now 3 pm and I saw the child for breakfast does not discourage her enthusiasm for her story one iota.

Now the same child is telling me that I caused HER to bump her own head on the table she was roughhousing around. See, if the mission is successful, they take credit. If it's not, well, someone else made them bump their heads...

Of course, the difference between the two situations is that my tax dollars aren't being spent so that someone can fail to solve the problem they themselves created in the one case, while in the other....well, wishful thinking sure can be expensive, can't it?