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Subject: Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?
mongoose    12/15/2002 9:21:29 PM
We all know that security at the Shuttle Launch site has been increased. What is being done to protect the ISS from a possible shoot down?
 
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Mundy    RE:Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?   2/8/2003 6:45:36 PM
A properly constructed shield generator around the moon of Endor should suffice. Sorry mongoose, couldn't resist... No SAM will ever reach it. Even for nations working on ICBMs, this won't mean much, since the weapons they carry are by definition, ballistic. Witness how much was invested in the ASAT program. I wouldn't think that any terrorist organization could even start on such a stunt.
 
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Belisarius    Probably, but who would have predicted...   7/6/2003 4:34:09 PM
...someone pulling a crazy stunt like hijacking airliners and flying them into skyscrapers? Most of the nations with ICBMs (China, Korea, Russia, US) developed them in at least partial conjunction with their space program. Correct me if I'm wrong, but N Korea now has some limited satellite launch capability. GIVEN that capability, it's not too much more to establish an ASAT capability. The question is whether or not the equipment is likely to pass into terrorist hands. It's possible, yes. However, I don't think it's very likely. Just as possible would be having a few people in on an inside job with some cargo that's got explosives in it. Someone has to do the final checks on the cargo... a switchoff at that stage could do the trick. My answer--yes, it is vulnerable, but no, I don't think it's a big concern. Not enough payoff for the expense.
 
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god of war    RE:Probably, but who would have predicted...   7/6/2003 4:42:03 PM
or, they could use the asat systems to take our recon sattelites or missle defense sattelites, if they exist. Remember, some things are top secret. The public didnt knoe about stealth planes for years. The ABM systems could be why the US hasnt done anything to North Korea. They would be like a cat without its claws.
 
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TankboiKelarius    RE:Probably, but who would have predicted...   12/13/2003 4:50:19 PM
Well the governemnt DID have a public ABM system for all of one day. It was positioned to guard the minuteman sites in montana, and was called Sentinel, if I remember correctly. Basically, the system worked by nuking the incoming nukes. Was online for all of one day before they decomissioned the ABM system. Now I'm sure iot wouldnt be that hard to reconfigure some of your ICBM warheads to explode in orbit, either A) frying the electronics in the oncoming warheads or B) vaporizing them, and it wouldnt be too much a stretch of the imagination to think that SAC had a few missiles programmed to do EXACTLY that.
 
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gf0012-aus    RE:Probably, but who would have predicted...   12/14/2003 6:13:45 PM
ever since tye US developed ASATs it has been assumed that the Russians had a countering capability
 
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Tracer_Tong    RE:Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?   6/14/2004 12:28:46 PM
The capability to shoot down the ISS exists, that is obvious, but the fact is, there is nothing to gain from it. Shooting it down would not give an opposing enemy a tactical advantage. A political one, maybie, but that would only result in swift retaliation, such as destroying the enemy's ASAT capabilities and satellites.
 
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blacksmith    RE:Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?   7/1/2004 12:27:15 AM
It does not require orbital capability to hit the ISS. It is only necessary to throw a payload up to its orbital altitude, which runs between 240 and 400 miles. Because it is in a highly inclined orbit, almost every country on Earth has a shot at it as it passes overhead. Sweden has a sounding rocket program called MAXIS. This is a single stage solid fueled rocket that can put 1,600 lbs 430 miles high. If that payload is a bucket of sand dispersed at the right time, the ISS will pass through the cloud at 18,000 mph. It wouldn't take too many grains of sand to inflict serious damage. Aiming is an issue, but if you miss, how can the US prove you fired at it? Conclusion. Like most civilian targets, the ISS is completely naked. Destroying it would force the US to write-off tens of billions of dollars. It would be costly on many levels. Yes it would provoke a rabid response, or at least it should, but the bad guys never seem to catch on to that. Maybe that's what makes them bad.
 
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Strangelove    RE:Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?   7/3/2004 7:24:37 AM
blacksmith wrote: "Aiming is an issue, but if you miss, how can the US prove you fired at it?" a. assuming you didn't miss too badly, the country responsible would be pretty obvious, and even if the payload were only sand (not denying effectiveness, here), intent would be pretty clear. b. the ISS, i think, is reasonably safe given that it would require a rather large investment to bring down such a target, and there are other, easier and more lucrative targets available. 3. Hit or miss, it seems likely that everyone and their brother is going to know, very quickly, where that rocket came from. 4. On the other hand, with MIRV technology one could disguise a launch as commercial in nature, and even deploy a sattilte in a safe orbit, while also delivering a small ASAT into ISS orbit. I would imagine the equivalent of a thermite grenade, a pound of plastic explosive, conventional hand grenade, could cripple or destroy the iss, and still leave the cause of the destruction a mystery. If it were in an opposed orbit, some paint or a box of nails might accomplish the same thing.
 
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blacksmith    RE:Is the ISS vulnerable to attack?   7/3/2004 10:56:40 PM
The number of countries with orbital access are few. The number of coutnries with sounding rocket or IRBM technology are more and growing. It's not just a matter of knowing who did it really. How many times did the ISS pass over Iraq during the three weeks of the war? How many time does it pass over North Korea? The ISS could effectively become a hostage to one of these countries it they threatened to shoot at it. It is not necessary to "shoot it down" because it wouldn't fall. It would stay in orbit for some time even if in peices. All the bad guy has to do is render it uninhabitable.
 
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