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Expensive U.S. Spy Satellite Not Working 251

Posted by Zonk
from the should-have-had-an-open-beta-first dept.
Penguinshit writes to mention a Reuters article about some trouble the U.S. is having communicating with a spy satellite. The sensor package was launched last year by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has apparently hung in a low orbit for months now, and efforts to communicate with it have been unsuccessful. From the article: "The official said the problems were substantial and involved multiple systems, adding that U.S. officials were working to reestablish contact with the satellite because of the importance of the new technology it was meant to test and demonstrate. The other source said the satellite had been described to him as 'a comprehensive failure.' There was no suggestion by either of the sources that the satellite had been purposely damaged as part of a terrorist attack. Another government official said he had no information about any attacks on U.S. satellites."
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Expensive U.S. Spy Satellite Not Working

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  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:50PM (#17577978) Journal
    "Windows has encountered an error from which it cannot recover and needs to restart. Please press any key to continue..."
  • Opps... (Score:5, Funny)

    by creimer (824291) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:51PM (#17578006) Homepage
    So that's what my DIY laser cannon shot down... I was worried that I built it wrong.
  • by VEGETA_GT (255721) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:52PM (#17578012)
    Bet ya this is a case of converting form Imperial to Metric again. Guess the military never got NASA's memo :P
    • Guess the military never got NASA's memo

      Oh, they got the memo. Halfway through development in Imperial units. Whoops. :P
  • Terrorism? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by despe666 (802244)
    If another country launched a spy satellite and the US destroyed it, it wouldn't be terrorism, it would be self-defense. Why would it be any different the other way around?
    • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jfengel (409917) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:12PM (#17578396) Homepage Journal
      I'd be hard pressed to call it "terrorism" in either case. Most definitions of "terrorism" that I'm aware of describe attacks against civilian rather than military targets, whose goal is to cause more harm than the actual physical damage by provoking fear.

      In this case it could conceivably be that a terrorist organization also sabotaged a military target, but that would not be an act of terrorism in and of itself. That's more like conventional espionage. The military knows that it is a target and is capable of responding, and so it's generally considered a valid target. The world gives a kind of grudging acceptance of your right to do it.

      The third general requirement of terrorism, as compared to a valid military attack, is that the enemy hides itself. If the US takes out somebody's spy satellite, you know where the US is if you want to engage in a military response. Al Qaeda doesn't have such a place. This isn't just a playing semantics; it goes back to the civilian/military distinction. When a true terrorist organization attacks the US, civilians nominally on their own side die when the US counterattacks. By contrast, to attack the US there are valid targets.

      (This gets a bit murky in espionage, where you do hide among the civilians, and that's the closest the US comes to true terrorism, at least for its avowed activities. We can discuss the various covert CIA activities later, but there's so much misinformation that it's hard to know what's real and what's paranoia.)

      Terrorism comes much closer to Clausewitz's "total war". Why should any opponent restrict itself to "valid" military targets and make itself known to counterattacks? No reason, except that the end of "total war" is always the complete destruction of one side: if you engage in it you're putting lives at risk out of proportion to your goals. That will earn the world's opprobrium, and perhaps that opprobrium will increase the chance of your defeat, but beyond that it's your choice.
      • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:22PM (#17578592)
        I agree.

        Terrorists = those who attack on civilians to induce terror (presumably to induce civilians some kind of change driven by the civilians).

        Resistance, Insurgents, Freedom fighters = those who attack military and government units (not 5 year olds).

        Nihilists = those who attack civilians really just because they like death and destruction and not because they have any particular goal of any kind in mind.

        "Total War" is not really terrorism. You are not trying to induce a civilian population attitude change- you have decided to kill everyone on the other side.
        • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by colman77 (689696) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:45PM (#17579038)
          Why does this even mention terrorism? Go back and read that again. "There was no suggestion by either of the sources that the satellite had been purposely damaged as part of a terrorist attack." Duh. Last time I checked, spy satellites were not exactly high-profile ordeals, making them less-than-desirable targets for any kind of terrorist. So then WHY include that sentence? Power of suggestion? Keep terrorism in our collective consciousness? Why is it there?
          • by RingDev (879105) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:50PM (#17580498) Homepage Journal
            I just wanted to let everyone know that my left butt cheek is fine. Any damage that it may have sustained is not related to any terrorist attack or plot. We must be ever vigilant though, less the terrorist forces do manage to injure my left butt cheek.

            This has been a public service reminder. Remember, be afraid of terrorist, you need us, we keep you safe, you have nothing to fear from an oppressive government unless you are an enemy of the government.

            -Rick
      • Re:Terrorism? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kfg (145172) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:24PM (#17578620)
        The military knows that it is a target and is capable of responding, and so it's generally considered a valid target. The world gives a kind of grudging acceptance of your right to do it.

        Tell it to the people talking about the U.S.S. Cole.

        Terrorism comes much closer to Clausewitz's "total war".

        Beware of leaving your opponant without options.

        KFG
        • OT:Terrorism? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by zippthorne (748122)
          Attacking a valid military target is still a de facto declaration of war. The question is: Who exactly declared war on us, and what are we going to do about it?

          Pakistan, the U.K., and even Canada may "grudgingly accept" attacks on "Valid US targets." The US does not have that option if it wishes to remain an intact, sovereign state.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by inviolet (797804)

        Well said.

        This issue was illustrated nicely (and horribly) in the Vietnam war. When the Vietnamese resorted to "total war" tactics, like putting bombs in picnic baskets carried by young girls, it changed the necessary response from their enemy. Their enemy (the US) now had to consider all civilians as potential combatants -- eventually, as likely combatants. Voila, you get Mai Lai and other unpleasantness.

        American civilians back home condemned the attacks on civilians, but only because they didn't unde

        • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Informative)

          by _Sharp'r_ (649297) <sharper.booksunderreview@com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:37PM (#17578858) Homepage Journal
          Lee conquering the south?

          I know that most US schools aren't big on teaching history any more unless it can somehow be related to a teacher's pet cause, but hopefully your comment is just a typo and you really meant something like Sherman's march to the sea.

          Just in case it isn't clear, Lee led the Southern Armies in the Civil War, he didn't conquer the South.
        • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Brummund (447393) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:41PM (#17578938)
          First of all, it is My Lai. Second, the massacre was in 1968. Third, the massacre was not done in a an attack on the village, it was done AFTER an initial attack on the village, where the US soldiers had full control of it.

          Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_massacre [wikipedia.org] for more details.
        • Re:Terrorism? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nietsch (112711) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:40PM (#17580310) Homepage Journal

          American civilians back home condemned the attacks on civilians, but only because they didn't understand the aforementioned. They still don't.


          Meanwhile, American soldiers suffered abnormal psychological harm because their survival required them to begin killing 'civilians', including women and children. It ended poorly for everyone, although I suppose the VC regard it as a triumphant "peoples' uprising" or some such euphemism.


          Well, it is not only the former vietcong that regards 'vietnam' as a major defeat for the US, and thus a bloody victory for Vietnam, the whole world (minus the US-minority) does so. As for understanding for attacks on civilians: none is ever justified. Not then in Vietnam, not now in Iraq. Killing people is always wrong, but killing innocents is even worse. What part of 'thou shalt not kill' do you not understand?

          • Was it to stop the communists?

            Remind me of who Walmart and most of america do trade with, and what their government is......

            Right....

            China is buying out as many important resource companies and partners it can find around the world, even in bad countries.
            China wont care about any human rights, a deal is a deal, for any resource.
            China buys a lot of US debts/T-Bills, they still consider that an investment, (or a massive IOU claim for US resources if it tanks)
            so they wont sell it down and cause the US$ to fai
    • How is this insightful? It's idle speculation, at best.

      The underlying assumption is completely baseless. The US has never shot down another country's satellites. We did shoot down one or two of our own in the 80's to test an anti-satellite system that would be used in time of war, but right now multiple other countries operate a variety of spy satellites that fly over the US freely. Russia, China, Japan, Israel, the UK, and I think India, Italy, and France all have launched spy satellites.

      And terroris
  • Obligatory. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:54PM (#17578060)
    "Nothing to see here... at least not with your security clearance."
  • by Phil246 (803464) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:56PM (#17578086)
    why mention it? Why raise the 'boogeyman' of terrorism for something unrelated to it, other then to reinforce the culture of fear created.
    • by Jonathan_S (25407) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:00PM (#17578168)
      "There was no suggestion by either of the sources that the satellite had been purposely damaged as part of a terrorist attack"
      If there was no suggestion of something... why mention it? Why raise the 'boogeyman' of terrorism for something unrelated to it, other then to reinforce the culture of fear created

      Exactly. I'm sure neither source mentioned that it had been deliberately damaged as part of an extra terrestrial alien attack either, but they didn't mention that.

      Maybe someone should start listing all the other types of attacks that didn't damage the satellite. (Start off with laser wielding shark...)
    • When you're seeing bogeymen under every rock you're afraid. Paranoid even.

       
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222)
        While I agree that we are being to paranoid, I don't think that simply making us paranoid is what Al Quaeda is after. We are not speaking Arabic, converted to Islam, we have not spilled our liquor, and we are not paying a head tax - so no, I don't think that they've won.
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      It's probably intended as irony. Attacking military targets defies the very definition of terrorism.

      Unless "terrorist" is now just a synonym for "enemy."

    • by bunions (970377)
      Because it's obviously one of the first things to spring to mind for a lot of people?
      • by pluther (647209)
        Because it's obviously one of the first things to spring to mind for a lot of people?

        Even when dealing with satellites??

        When did Al-Qaeda get a freakin' space program??!

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Now come on. It's quite possible a terrorist snuck into some of the most secure facilities in the world to tamper with a highly classified military satellite before launch. Even more likely is that the terrorists used their well known orbital capability to tamper with it AFTER launch in ideal conditions -- nobody within three hundred kilometres to witness the act.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:56PM (#17578096)
    Come on now - a terrorist attack? I really think that any reporter or journalist that's gotten to the point of asking if terrorists are involved every time something goes wrong should be fired, or at least whacked with a Clue Stick and put on probation or something.

    "Huh. This turkey sandwich I got from the commissary is a little dry today..."
    "Really? Do you think it could be some kind of terrorist attack on Lunchtime?!"

    Absurd.
    • No no no!

      It's a terrorist attack on your bowels! And rightly so. A turkey sandwich without delicious gravy is like a dry fart in the Sahara: not really pleasant.
  • by RelaxedTension (914174) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:56PM (#17578104)
    If anyone actually did something to kill the satellite, there is a list of countries that I would suspect long before looking at terrorists. Countries like China, Russia, etc., have greater reason, not to mention resources, to damage an orbiting satellite.

    Why is always terrorists that are the culprits when something goes wrong? The nations that used espionage before the "War On Terror" are still there, and still have vested interest in denying the US the ability to spy on them.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:15PM (#17578460) Homepage
      Don't ascribe to malice that which can adequately explained by incompetence.

      In other words, We have met the enemy and he is us.

      • Don't ascribe to malice that which can adequately explained by incompetence.
        In other words, We have met the enemy and he is us.

        That's a good rule, but it seems odd that there's such a public announcement. Nobody intentionally 'outs' themselves when it comes to spy programs.

        In other words, I'd like to know if it really is unusable. It is in plain sight, so the best approach would be to claim that it's dead. I have no idea if that situation is true here, but the tactic is ancient.

        Additionally, if active,

    • by TheLink (130905)
      "Why is _always_ terrorists that are the culprits when something goes wrong"

      That's because "We have always been at war with Oceania^H^H^H^H^H^H^HTerrorists".

    • by steelfood (895457)
      While external interference would be applicable for a perfectly operational satellite suddenly gone bad without an explanation, Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] probably applies better in this case.
    • by CODiNE (27417)
      Don't you understand? This is a serious problem!

      Gremlins...

      You got-you gotta watch out for them forgeiners cuz they plant gremlins in their machinery.

      It's the same gremlins that brought down our planes in the big one.
      Kate: [laughing] The big one...
      that's right! World war two.
      Good old WWII.

      Y'know their still shippin them over here. They put em in cars, they put em in yer tv. They put em in stereos and those little radios you stick in your ears. They even put em in watches, they have teeny gremlins for our w

  • terrorists??!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no reason to be here (218628) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:57PM (#17578114) Homepage
    does anybody else feel that the mention of terrorists in this article is just absofuckinglutely retarded? that anyone, for even an instant, seriously entertained the notion that any terrorist group has both the capacity and wherewithal to take out something in LEO, UNDETECTED, is beyond idiotic.

    we must be living in the bizarro universe.
    • by Buran (150348)
      Yes.

      I also need to note that it is completely unremarkable that there has been a failure of a spacecraft. Space is an unforgiving environment, and there have been countless failures of missions, some due to freak happenstance and some due to human error and some due to equipment failure. It's generally dealt with by establishing the cause of the failure, correcting it, and launching a new spacecraft if it's necessary and/or possible.

      - Mars Climate Orbiter: We now have other spacecraft at Mars
      - Mars Polar La
    • I think [slashdot.org] everyone [slashdot.org] else [slashdot.org] agrees [slashdot.org] with you. [slashdot.org]
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:58PM (#17578150) Homepage Journal
    Anyone remember the pioneering days when real men (and women) weren't afraid to light a giant roman candle [wikipedia.org] under their posteriors? Back in those days, we would have retasked a spaceflight, go and check the sat out, and get it running again. What I woudln't give for that space capability [wikipedia.org] again. ;)
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      While as much as I admire the sentiment, it it almost certainly cheaper to build and launch a new satelite then it is to send someone up to fix this one. The only important issue is that the diagnostic software may not have told us enough about what went wrong in the first place.
      • it it almost certainly cheaper to build and launch a new satelite then it is to send someone up to fix this one.

        At "hundreds of millions of dollars", I'd say it's a toss-up given the Shuttle's current launch cost of $450 million [nasa.gov]. If the additional stop to check on the sat doesn't detract significantly from the original mission, then it might even be cost effective. In the Space Shuttle's more nominal cost per launch days, it would have been much cheaper to go have a looksee. (Like was done with the Hubble.) There's also the consideration of whether the expense to get the existing sat up and running NOW is worth the cost over waiting five years for a replacement to be launched.

        The CEV's simpler design will almost certainly be cheaper than launching new spy sats.
        • No, it isn't a toss-up. That price tag includes the enormous R&D costs. Making an n+1 copy of the satellite will be far cheaper. Further, they may even have a partial copy of the satellite hardware already built, on earth, in order to do diagnostics or for prototyping purposes.
          • That price tag includes the enormous R&D costs. Making an n+1 copy of the satellite will be far cheaper.

            Only if the platform is standardized. If it was specialized equipment, then there's a huge cost in pulling the team back together to develop, test, and deploy a new unit. Especially since they didn't know what caused it to fail the first time around. So the savings of making an N+1 copy may not be as significant as one might think.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Dunbal (464142)
            Making an n+1 copy of the satellite will be far cheaper.

                  Not necessarily, because this time they have to make one that WORKS.
        • by really hiding the true frequencies and mechanism of comms and protocols, which probably got changed by a firmware update at the last moment before launch, or the firmware maybe
          had two protocols and switched to the new one once it knew it was in orbit. So now you have the real NRO secret boys using it, going woooohoooo. While the official
          NRO department goes, "wtf it doesnt work" and get some money back or more from the govt for some more secret black ops.

          Maybe its using UV lasers as comms or even xray com
      • by peragrin (659227)
        The Next shuttle launch should include a flight plan that after working on ISS to go get the satellites and return it to earth. That is what the shuttle is supposed to be for, and wouldn't cost a whole lot more since the shuttle is in orbit anyways.

        But knowing NASA the shuttle won't have enough maneuvering fuel to complete the task.

        The Shuttle was designed to retrieve satellites, and conduct space based repairs. It's why the Shuttle is being used to build ISS and not progress style capsules. Russia can't
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BillX (307153)
      On the other hand, these *real* men and women had lofty goals of exploring strange new worlds and furthering the human base of scientific knowledge. They might be less than receptive to the idea of risking their asses to run up and hit the reset switch on a bricked piece of spy equipment. :-)
  • Some spooks were using the bird to zoom into those nude beaches and the camera got stuck, (or that is what they are telling their bosses) and so they pretend there is a communication problem.
  • NMCI (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chayak (925733) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:09PM (#17578330)
    This is what happens when you outsource your communications to EDS and NMCI "What do you mean by 'I forgot to turn it on...'!?!"
  • There are plenty of objects in Earth orbit that are able to damage a satellite. The cause doesn't have to be sabotage or human error. Shit Sometimes Happens...

    -b.

    • Seriously, is it that hard to make an independanly powered/comms mini computer on a sat that has access to the main sattelite for status reports?
      ie. someone small and light 3-5kg like a laptop but sealed. Battery lasting a few weeks. Maybe a small camera for visuals, use slow bps comms thats not
      ultra directional. Say something like 300bps HAM setup, if the sat fails you at least can download telemtry debug status data to find out whats wrong.

      IS IT THAT HARD?????

      All it needs to do is transmit in ascii every
  • Shouldn't it be disavowed like any self-respectable spy? If you lose James Bond, he never existed, right?
    • by MyHair (589485)
      Kind of silly since every villian I've seen in a Bond movie has a computer screen full of info on 007 complete with photo and personality quirks. Kind of hard to disavow him if they already know who he is.
  • Or is it just a ploy to get people to not worry about it, thereby making the NRO's job easier by hiding it in plain sight.
  • by ortcutt (711694) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:27PM (#17578680)
    They should have known it was a bad idea to appoint the President of the Arabian Horse Association to be the head of the National Reconnaissance Office.
  • by supabeast! (84658)
    This is business as usual at the NRO. The NRO is the most pathetic of the US intelligence agencies, and is known for failing more often than not in just about all endeavors. For the NRO, a satellite making it into space at all is a big deal, because NRO projects have a history of dying in the design stage, and there have been other big failures such as a specialized launch vehicle blowing up on the launch pad, taking satellites with it.

    If you're wondering why you've never heard of the NRO before, it's becau
    • Exactly how many intelligence agencies does the United States have?
      • Exactly how many intelligence agencies does the United States have?

        And which one is capable of providing accurate information?
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        Nobody knows. I think there was an intelligence agency set up to try and find out.

        Ironically, the CENTRAL intelligence agency was set up originally to unite intelligence work more or less in one place. Before that each branch of the military had it's own intelligence service.
        • ...the CENTRAL intelligence agency was set up originally to unite intelligence work more or less in one place.

          Yeah, that's why I included DHS in that list, because I kinda thought they were supposed to coordinate all the intelligence agencies along with whatever other crap they do.
      • by vmcto (833771) *

        A better question may be how many INTELLIGENT agencies does the US have?
  • by starfire-1 (159960) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:31PM (#17578758)
    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Building, launching and fly a spacecraft is complex and difficult. But ever since the mid 1990's the industry thinks that cutting costs (which inevitably means cutting late life cycle costs such as operations) can be overcome with automation and hand-waving. The launch vehicle gets the spacecraft off the ground, but then some silly operations error or engineering flaw not uncovered by operations results in a catastrophic failure (e.g. JPL/Mars English vs. Metric debacle). Back in the day - agencies fully funded operations personnel that shook out both procedural and engineering defects ahead of time. Just because an agency doesn't/can't pay for the same level of effort in today's fiscal environment does not mean that these types of defects magically disappear.

    It used to be said that of "Better, faster, cheaper," you could only have two out of three. As time goes on, I wonder if these expectations are too high.

    Space missions have cost overruns for sure, but in my experience those overruns come from unrealistically low bids from major vendors and the fact that these dinosaur companies build spacecraft in pretty much the same way as they always have. They used to run of of money about a year before launch and they still run out of money a year before launch. IMHO, the only way to reduce the frequency of catatrophic failure is for early life cycle vendors to becore more efficient so there are funds for operations to shake out the bugs before it gets up on orbit.
  • Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nsayer (86181) * <nsayer@NosPaM.kfu.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:36PM (#17578834) Homepage
    There was no suggestion by either of the sources that the satellite had been purposely damaged as part of a terrorist attack.

    What kind of bullshit fear-mongering is this? There was no suggestion that it was caused by Martian attack or canabalism in the British Navy either. Why not mention that?

  • Error (Score:4, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest (469614) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:43PM (#17579000)
    Keyboard not detected. Press RETURN to continue...
  • Reading the comments posted above is chilling. Generally, people don't even begin to understand the issues.

    Weapons and spy contracts can be mostly secret. In practice, that means there will be less supervision and much more opportunity to make and sell junk at very high profit. It is very common that an entire project is so poorly designed that it is useless; however, the politics is such that the failures are kept secret. The U.S. government has been corrupted by secrecy and dishonesty.

    Here is my summary of U.S. government corruption: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org]. I hope you will write your own summary and send it to friends and government leaders.
  • Mom: That "jam" thing of yours on the roof is making an awful noise. You take it down, you hear me? You can play with it just as well when it's turned off and inside.
    Tinkering son on the roof, growing up to become your average mad scientist: Mom, it's jamming, not "jam", and it's cool. I think it's actually working. Don't worry, I won't hurt myself on it. *Hehe, I can't wait until I can read about this in the papers. They might think a nuclear war is coming... I hope they start one! Muahaha!*
  • by The Dobber (576407) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:56PM (#17579244)
    A good slap on the side of the cabinet.

      .
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:10PM (#17579622)
    An anonymous reader writes to mention a Reuters article about some trouble the U.S. is having communicating with a spy satellite. >The sensor package was launched last year by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office

    Well, I doubt if NRO launches anything-- they probably sign a check to Martin-Marietta, who coordinates things and rents a pad at Vandenberg.

    >and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Well, it probably cost hundreds of millions of $. What it's worth, especially in the light of it being unusable, is debatable. Back when CMOS sensor arrays were custom made for $70,000 each the technology was gee-whizzy. Nowdays your basic disposable camera isnt that far behind what's in the current sats.

    >It has apparently hung in a low orbit for months now.

    "Hung"? as in hanging from something? Or hung as in "windows hung on me"?

    >and efforts to communicate with it have been unsuccessful. The official said the problems were substantial and involved multiple systems.

    So it probably had several radio links and none of them seem to be working. That's bad. There's usually at least one last-ditch fail-safe really simple telemetry and command link that doesnt depend on the main power source or antenna aiming. If they can't talk to that thingy, things are mighty grim.

    >adding that U.S. officials

    "Officials"? More likely a bunch of hairy and now sweaty peons.

    >Were working to reestablish contact with the satellite because of the importance of the new technology it was meant to test and demonstrate.

    So they wouldnt bother if it had old technology but cost $200 million?

    >The other source said the satellite had been described to him as 'a comprehensive failure.'

    Well, if you can't talk to it, that's pretty comprehensive.

  • Oh come now; We've all seen Star Wars.

    We all know how this one ends: "Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!"
  • by buhatkj (712163) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:15PM (#17579746) Homepage
    heh the very idea that terrorists could possibly do something to a satellite after launch makes me laugh. i mean did it go like this?

    Osama - "OK Zawawhatshisname, show me this big plan you have for taking out the satellites of the great satan?"
    ZAWA - "ok, basically we strap a bomb to young Uday here..."
    Osama - "ok, not bad so far, pretty standard, then what?"
    Zawa - "then we have this big slingshot and...."
    Osama - "whoa whoa waitasec.... are you serious??"
    Zawa - "yeh, well he gets in then we tie the camels to the basket and..."
    Osama - "what somebody cracks the whip and pulls a string c'mon man!! Is this what I pay you for?!?!"
    Zawa - "well, I..."
    Osama - "You're fired..."
    Zawa - "but..."
    Osama - "dude, just...leave...ok?!"

    nah...my spidey sense tell me it was a launch damage f-up or micrometeorite, something normal like that. maybe even a bug, a software glitch like the poor MGS or polar lander (inches, meters, what being difference?!?!? haha!!)

  • Just think of the few dozen extra troops we could've sent to Baghdad instead of wasting money on this piece of space junk! Harumph!
  • Suckers (Score:2, Funny)

    by neoevans (179332)
    Everytime your government loses or mis-spends $450 Million, then tells you it was spent on some mythical "spy-sattelite" you go and believe them?

  • I want a refund.
  • Articles like these always trigger my spidey-sense. Really, a secret US spy satellite isn't working? Wow, what a colossal failure for....wait, if it's for SPYING why the hell does anyone know about it in the first place?

    True, usually the Air Force or NASA will say something about carrying specialized military cargo or some such doublespeak, but if it is really doing something secret, how does the information get out that it's broken in the first place? Aside from being purposefully leaked...

    "Oh gosh golly
  • If I were a hostile country or a 'Dr. Evil' type and I discovered how to knock out a US satellite I certainly would not run around advertising it.

    Also, if I were the NRO and I discovered N. Korea, Iran, Luxemburg or the Southern Peoples Liberation Army of Tonga
    had found a way to knock out US satellites I wouldn't run around advertising it either.

    Malfunction my foot.

    Like I said, tinfoil hat time.... :)

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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