Preposterous Universe

Sunday, December 12, 2004
Time to move someplace dry?

From Patridiot Watch, via Pandagon: the strategic missile defense that is supposed to make us safe from nuclear catastrophe won't work in the rain.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first flight test in nearly two years of a planned U.S. missile-defense shield has been scrapped two days in a row this week because of bad weather, the Pentagon said on Friday.


Bush's goal, announced in 2002, was to have a rudimentary ground-based shield in operation by the end of this month. But the timetable may slip, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, Michael Wynne, suggested earlier this week.


The Pentagon is spending $10 billion a year on the project.

The test would be the first since a December 2002 failure in which the "kill vehicle" -- a Raytheon Co. -built 120-pound package of sensors, chips and thrusters -- failed to separate from its booster rocket. Of eight intercepts attempted so far, five hit their targets, but under highly scripted conditions.


The target missile was to be fired in Kodiak, Alaska, to vary engagement angles tested in previous launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The first attempt to conduct the test this week was scrubbed by clouds over Kodiak.

The Pentagon's official goal for the test is a "flyby" to gather data on the new hardware linkups as well as on the nerve center, rather than to shoot down the target.


The current chief weapons tester, Thomas Christie, said in a written reply to Reuters that the test, if successful, would increase confidence that the system "has some operational capability against a North Korean threat ballistic missile."

Coyle said the tests so far and the coming one gave him no such confidence.

"The target launch time and location, the flight trajectory, the point of impact, what the target looks like, and the make-up of other objects in the target cluster have all been known in advance to plot the intercept," he said. "No enemy would cooperate by providing all that information in advance."
Sorry for the long excerpt, but it's just all so good. The finest comedy minds of our generation couldn't make this look any more ridiculous than it already does.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
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