Beware the Chinese Satellite Killer

Read the Reuters report via the Irish Examiner earlier today and was relieved to see the target satellite they smacked into was only 500 miles away, prompting the U.S. to object:

"The U.S. believes China’s development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. "We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese."

Using a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile, the test knocked out an aging Chinese weather satellite about 537 miles above the earth on January 11 through "kinetic impact," or by slamming into it, Johndroe said.

For those of us who watch TV, we need not be alarmed. Communications satellites that provide video services, either direct-to-home or to cable systems, operate in the geosynchronous or Clarke orbit. That’s 22,236 miles up. Can’t smack that down.