Feeds

Bush orders US Navy to shoot down rogue spy sat

Anything to stop it hitting eBay

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The most plausible explanation is that the US - no matter what it says officially - is worried about its secret satellite tech falling into the wrong hands. It will be impossible to predict just where the errant sky-spy will fall until shortly before impact, by which point it would be too late to shoot it down - even if there happened to be an Aegis cruiser or destroyer in the right place. So the US will take the sat out while it still can.

John R Pike, a veteran defence/intelligence analyst who runs the authoritative Globalsecurity.org service, told Fox News the US government could still be worried even if the space spyeye came down in America. It seems eBay is part of the espionage threat.

"What they have to be worried about is that a souvenir collector is going to find some piece, put it on e-Bay, and the Chinese buy it," he said, presumably meaning the US government would never find out about the sale and try to outbid the People's Republic.

"The Chinese and the Russians spend an enormous amount of time trying to steal American technology... To have our most sophisticated radar intelligence satellite — have big pieces of it fall into their hands — would not be our preferred outcome."

Pike suspects the satellite is a highly sophisticated ocean-surveillance job, perhaps able to radar-track ships through clouds and storms without using large amounts of power. Previous generations of radar-ocean-recce sats needed expensive, troublesome radioisotope generators - nuclear batteries - or even fully fledged atomic reactors, in the case of some Russian examples.

The US authorities refuse to discuss the secret spacecraft's path, but it is being tracked by amateur sky-watchers. They report that its orbital plane is tilted 60 degrees from that of the equator and it is circling the Earth roughly every 90 minutes: so it could come down anywhere except in the Arctic or Antarctic regions. A handy map webpage for those not up on their orbital mechanics and two-line elements is here.

General Cartwright says the USN will be shooting from positions "in the northern hemisphere and Pacific." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.