44 News Notes 70 Space Survivability-Time to Get Serious 13 Optical Diagnostics for Ballistic Aircraft Survivability Testing

Ken Capt, Branham, Mathias Kolleck, Meghan Buchanan, Mike Saemisch, Peter Disimile, Torger Anderson, Norman Toy, Luke Swanson
<span title="">2008</span> <span class="release-stage">unpublished</span>
It is time to get serious about space survivability. China's recent actions have demonstrated their anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, marking a turning point in how the United States should view space. In August 2006, China "painted" or illuminated American intelligence satellites flying over its territory using ground-based high-power lasers. The Chinese were either trying to blind the spacecraft with their laser or testing whether their laser could guide a direct ascent kinetic energy ASAT.
more &raquo; ... On 17 January 2007, the Chinese followed up this action by using a kinetic kill vehicle launched by a medium-range ballistic missile to destroy an inactive Chinese Fengyun-1C weather satellite. The destruction of this satellite was by far the most severe satellite break-up ever in terms of identified debris, generating more than 1,500 large scraps (4 inches or larger) of debris. The Chinese had made two prior unsuccessful attempts, at least one of which occurred last year. In both instances, the Chinese interceptor boosted into space but missed the target. The reentry vehicles later fell back to Earth. After the Challenger disaster, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) established the Office of Safety, Reliability, and Quality Assurance (SR&QA) to repair the "lack of independent safety oversight." Later, after the tragic Columbia accident, NASA conducted an in-depth investigation to identify causes of the accident and set forth recommendations to save the program's future. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) reported considerable concern over the lack of a crew escape system and an ability to address worst-case scenarios and emergencies.
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