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Space Science Technology

India Brings Back Orbiting Satellite to Earth 210

Posted by timothy
from the congratulations-on-a-hard-job dept.
bharatm writes "In a pathbreaking event heralding its arrival as a space power with capability to recover an orbiting satellite, India today successfully brought back a spacecraft to earth, giving a new impetus to the proposed manned mission to space in the next decade."
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India Brings Back Orbiting Satellite to Earth

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  • And yet (Score:1, Troll)

    by antifoidulus (807088)
    no mention on /. of China's newfound ability to shoot a satellite that is in orbit.
    • by Scoria (264473)
      Slashdot did mention [slashdot.org] China's recent test of their anti-satellite weapon. However, they referred to it as a laser weapon, which is slightly less than accurate.
    • Re:And yet (Score:5, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:06AM (#17709774)
      India launches them. China shoots them down. And NASA spends several years and several $billion contracting with Boeing to develop a missle-proof satellite system to be ready "sometime in 2022."

      -Eric

      • by darjen (879890)
        India launches them. China shoots them down. And NASA spends several years and several $billion contracting with Boeing to develop a missle-proof satellite system to be ready "sometime in 2022."
        Well hey, we have to keep all the scientists in the US busy somehow. Otherwise, they might actually end up building something useful with their time and our money! We definitely wouldn't want that to happen.
      • > India launches them. China shoots them down.

        I believe that it should be:

        "India launches them. The United States, Russia and China shoot them down. "
  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <(instascreed) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:00AM (#17709728) Homepage
    Is test an ASAT missile.

    (I'm sure that's coming.)
    • by paeanblack (191171) on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:10AM (#17709814)
      Is test an ASAT missile.

      They just did...in true non-violent style, no less.
      • 100% different. These satellites are designed to accept command for de-orbit. They are not capturing the satellite or whatever. If you have to compare, I would have to say launching a satellite is closer to test an ASAT than this.

        Someone knowledgable to this topic told me that the difficulty of retrieving satellite this way is not on the sky, but on the ground (ocean).... because you have to get a worldwide coverage of stations in order to observe and control the re-entry. It is not a trival task both
    • by Cervantes (612861)
      Is test an ASAT missile.

      I misread that as "an &ATAT missile" and I was wondering how they'd control it with such crappy bandwidth...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:03AM (#17709750)
    Holy Cow!
  • Sweet (Score:1, Funny)

    by mfh (56)
    Now we can have cheap interstellar labour!
    • by unother (712929) * <[myself] [at] [kreig.me]> on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:22AM (#17709936) Homepage

      Ya know, I just had an epiphany on outsourcing to India...

      We all know the popular press about issues regarding process, quality, et al. with Indian Outsourcing. However: I recall that once upon a time, Japanese manufacturing was the butt of many a joke until the early 1970s.

      Just saying, I would suggest that any smirking in the direction of the Indian Outsourcing phenomenon is a little premature because I imagine it is inevitable that these issues will eventually be worked out.

      • Epiphany, huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205)
        Epiphany, huh? Actually, if you read even popular press, you'll see that countries such as India and China are commonly referred to as "developing" countries. This means that some day soon they are widely expected to be on par with other "developed" countries such as Japan, South Korea, etc. If this sort of thing interests you, pick up the Economist or a similar magazine and you'll get some estimates about when this might occur.

        On another tangent, if you go back in time a little further, you'll learn tha
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Yes...a troll found a perfect moment to troll. Any news on India and there is a always a stereotypical response like cheap labour, not-enough-food-to-eat.
      BTW, what you call cheap labour (in terms of U.S or any western currency) is a high enough pay for middle-class Indians. With around 30,000 rupees, average Indian family can live a life equivalent to a life of a average US family with income of around 70K. And that estimate is a conservative one...most engineers I know get paid around 25,000-30,000 ru
  • Not retrieval (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:16AM (#17709876) Homepage Journal
    When I first read the headline and blurb I thought India retrieved a satellite. As in how the Space Shuttle can go up, retrieve a satellite that otherwise is not designed for reentry, and bring it back to earth. This craft was designed for reentry in the first place, so they didn't really "bring" it back - they commanded it to return on its own.

    Dan East
  • for having such a lofty attitude... Anyway, what did they mean by "home-built" rocket when they said:
    A 550-kg recoverable space capsule that was launched by a home-built rocket on January 10 returned to earth's atmosphere
    Does it mean "home" as in homecountry=India, or home as in someone's backyard?
    • "Indi(a)"genously developed! :P Result of the sanctions!
    • does "in-house" mean inside somebody's house on in a particular place? wtf do u know ...go and read some high school text books before you start plugging in your keyboard. it seems these people need war on every country to get some general knowledge...! losers...
    • by flyingfsck (986395) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:04AM (#17710362)
      In India they speak English, which is not exactly the same as American. To Indians, India is 'home' and they may even have a government department known as the 'Home Office' or even a minister of 'Home Affairs' - that is the English tradition anyway. Therefore, on a grand scale, 'home built', simply means 'Made in India'.
  • Priorities (Score:3, Interesting)

    by udderly (890305) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:20AM (#17709906)

    I was in India last year; the poverty and malnutrition [wfp.org] in the outlying areas is simply heart-breaking. Worse than anywhere else that I've been. Call me old-fashioned, but before a gov't starts acting on all of their world-stage aspirations, shouldn't they feed their citizens?

    I guess that one could make the case that India's space program is an investment in the future, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try to sell that to people who don't have enough food.


    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paulrothrock (685079) on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:27AM (#17709976) Homepage Journal
      I think it would be better if they gave up their nuclear weapons research [fas.org] rather than their space program. Better to cancel a destructive program than a constructive program to alleviate poverty.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Telvin_3d (855514)
        They are not going to give up the nuclear program in favor of the space program because from their government's point of view they are the SAME PROGRAM.

        Do you really think that the US government's interest in the space program in the 50's and 60's had anything to do with actually going to space? To a small extent it was a nice prestige project, but that was just a nice spin off from the real research. The difference between a 'rocket' and a 'missile' is nothing but a name. You will note that once they ha
      • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

        by metlin (258108) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:30PM (#17712348) Journal
        It is a valuable deterrent, especially given that India is surrounded by China on one side and Pakistan on the other - both of which are quite trigger happy.

        Secondly, India has a no first use policy, which Pakistan does not share (I am not sure if China has a no first use policy).

        Given the region, I'd say it's better to have a deterrent than none.

        Besides, if there were no deterrent, there would be more frequent skirmishes and the like which would cost more money in the long term. With this, folks are afraid of any serious incursions because it could escalate into something bigger. So, you save more lives, money and resources that may have been spent on war.

        It's not a zero sum game.
        • You make a good, if tragic, point. Humans are absurdly violent creatures. We'll spend billions on guns to defend ourselves from something that would take millions in aid and some foresight to prevent.
    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unother (712929) * <[myself] [at] [kreig.me]> on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#17710010) Homepage

      Yes, but you are presuming a causal linkage between the two if you suggest this (i.e. Money for Space = No Money for Food for the Poor).

      I'm certain that a few things are on the mind of those who advocate the Space Program for India:

      1. India's borders with the Happy Happy Joy Joy Club members, Pakistan and China
      2. "Rising Tide" Theory (lifts all boats)
      3. Ensuring India has its own capacity to commence further Industrialization, removing some of its dependencies on "First World" technology and power.

      In the end, I think India is reaching for the stars to make sure there is a way for those people to be fed.

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        Yes, but you are presuming a causal linkage between the two if you suggest this (i.e. Money for Space = No Money for Food for the Poor).
        Your post ignores the fact that less money spent on space = more money that can be spent on food for the poor.
        • by unother (712929) *

          You are right, in the short-term.

          My post is intended to point out that these actions are not predicated on short-term thinking. They are predicated on medium-term and long-term thinking.

          I am certain that one of the ways India intends to life those people out of poverty is by improving the industrial and technological base of the nation as a whole. The thinking that goes into this means that these actions will provide India with better means to support its burgeoning population.

        • Your post ignores the fact that less money spent on space = more money that can be spent on food for the poor.
          And your post ignores the fact that money spent doesn't magically disappear and that it will eventually be passed down the economic food-chain. Of course it isn't a 1:1 coorelation down the economic food-chain but neither is money hand-outs to food.
        • by be-fan (61476)
          That's only true over very short time-scales. India's GDP growth rate is 8.4%. Essentially that means $10 invested in the economy today is $15 you can spend, perhaps on food for the poor, five years from now.

          The potential return on investment for India's space program is quite high. They're already making some inroads into the commercial launch market, and with further investment could become a major provider of low-cost commercial launch services. Modest investments today could lead to getting a good porti
      • "Rising Tide" Theory (lifts all boats)

        Assuming you have a boat...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You know, there are millions [fhfh.org] of undernourished people in the U.S. too. It would have been nice if our government fed it's citizens before acting on all of it's "world-stage aspirations."
      • by udderly (890305) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:06AM (#17710386)

        I do volunteer work in the inner-city and in rural Appalachia so I've seen first-hand the things that your link indicates, but the poverty in these places simply does not compare to what one will see in some of the places (India, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Pakistan) that I've been.

        While anyone can cook up stats about hunger, there is a simple test that can indicate the true level of hunger in an area: offer a half-eaten sandwich (or whatever) to someone in the street and see the reaction. In the inner-city area near us where I serve, that will at least get you cussed out, if not get the crap beaten out of you. However, we have had six-year-old children at an outdoor restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico, gratefully eat the last bite of our salad. Similar results in the countries listed above.

        The fact is that there is hunger in some instances in the US, but it is more often due to parents' mental illness or drug/alcohol use than to a general lack of food availability. Often there is enough money but it is squandered on other things. In many cases in rural Appalachia, we have gone to houses where the kids truly do not have enough to eat and yet the parents have Marlboros (not even generics) and/or satellite TV. There's not much that can be done when parents care more about smoking and television than feeding their kids. Also, have you never heard of the Hunger/Obesity Paradox [google.com]. Read up, becuase in America, the poorest kids are also the fattest.

        Yes, there is work to be done in the US but it's mostly treatment and/or education. Your post, however, glibly trivializes the dire circumstances that exist in many parts of the world where there simply is not enough food.
        • by phliar (87116)

          So is it your claim that India is one of those places that have this "true level of hunger", where "there simply isn't enough food"? On what basis do you make this claim?

          You'll find that hunger in India has the usual causes: unscrupulous businessmen and government officials beholden to them. (Hmmm, sound familiar?)

          And, to bring this back on topic, do you seriously believe that unless you've solved problem A you can't work on problem B? In other words, as long as there are starving children in India, Ind

          • by udderly (890305) *

            So is it your claim that India is one of those places that have this "true level of hunger", where "there simply isn't enough food"? On what basis do you make this claim?

            Like I said, I've been there and I've seen it with my own eyes.

            And, to bring this back on topic, do you seriously believe that unless you've solved problem A you can't work on problem B? In other words, as long as there are starving children in India, India can't work on, say, computers.

            Actually, at this point, I'm not sure. There may be an overlap that I hadn't considered. I'm not so sure about going to the moon, but as someone else pointed out, satellites have benefits for food production (weather predictions, etc). I wonder if it can be quantified.

            In all fairness, I could be reacting more out of emotion and despair than straight logic. It is really a horrible thing to see so many people in so much need and realize t

        • by metlin (258108) *
          Your post, however, glibly trivializes the dire circumstances that exist in many parts of the world where there simply is not enough food.

          Umm, the biggest problem in India is not production but storage and distribution.

          And oh, these satellite thingys have helped improve agriculture by weather forecasting, geological and geographical surveys, communications etc. Amongst other things, such as education, industrialization, early weather warning systems and the like.

          But hey, you go ahead. In your total idiocy
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by udderly (890305) *

            Umm, the biggest problem in India is not production but storage and distribution.

            Umm, well then use the money to build infrastructure.

            And oh, these satellite thingys have helped improve agriculture by weather forecasting, geological and geographical surveys, communications etc. Amongst other things, such as education, industrialization, early weather warning systems and the like.

            Good point. Seriously, I hadn't really considered that. I wonder if going to the moon helps too.

            But hey, you go ahead. In your total idiocy and lack of vision, sit there mocking at technological achievements which are the crux for the foundation and development of any society.

            Way to go, Strawman! I never mocked technological achievements. Not once.

            What sheer stupidity. Denying a man his dream is the worst kind of sin one could commit.

            Such an asinine statement, that it doesn't really need to be refuted...but what the heck. A man (or woman) doesn't have the right to fulfill his/her dream on public money. Public money is presumably for the public good. If it is his/her dream, let him come up with or raise th

            • by metlin (258108) *
              > Umm, well then use the money to build infrastructure.

              Infrastructure needs engineers, resources and a system that can produce such people.

              > Good point. Seriously, I hadn't really considered that. I wonder if going to the moon helps too.

              Oh, I do not know - maybe the fringe benefit of discovering all these other technologies along the way. Not to mention a technological know-how that brings business to launch satellites for other countries into space. Something that helps the economy, you know?

              > Way
      • You know, there are millions of undernourished people in the U.S. too. It would have been nice if our government fed it's citizens before acting on all of it's "world-stage aspirations."

        Well, it already provided everyone a free, compulsory education [enotes.com], and you didn't bother to learn the difference between "it's" and "its". There is only so much the government can do, and beyond that, people have to help themselves.

        In the United States, it's really damn hard to literally go hungry. I know this because

    • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:14AM (#17710488) Journal
      What is it about space stories (whether it's the US, or elsewhere) that always brings out the "Won't somebody think of the poor?" comments?

      I knew I'd see something like this as soon as I saw this article - and indeed, two comments in the top ten posts.

      Why do people not make the same charitable "Think of the poor" suggestions for other things? Most notably military spending, but Governments spend all sorts of money on things other than helping poor people. No one complains then. Indeed, usually you get the opposite response - "Why should I have to pay for poor people?"
      • by ozbird (127571)
        What is it about space stories (whether it's the US, or elsewhere) that always brings out the "Won't somebody think of the poor?" comments?

        Lack of vision? "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." - Oscar Wilde.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      Call me old-fashioned, but before a gov't starts acting on all of their world-stage aspirations, shouldn't they feed their citizens?

      Nope that'll rarely happen. Almost all governments act for their long term good rather than the good of their poorest citizens. The US, USSR, and China all have our "starving poor," but that hasn't stopped anyone of those countries from atleast attempting go into space. You could argue that the USSR's economic model reduced their capital so they just couldn't afford their space
    • I wouldn't want to be the one to try to sell that to people who don't have enough food.

      Let's see, how much food is wasted in building a satellite? Unless the rocket burns flour or vegetables, I can't see how not launching it would contribute to feeding anyone.

      Or do you mean the money spent in the program should be used to buy food and give it to the needy? In that case, perhaps not launching one rocket would ease the hunger of a few million people. Today. But what about tomorrow? How do you propose to end

      • I suggest investing in crop science to produce more food with the same land resources. It's worked [usda.gov] here.
        • by mangu (126918)
          I suggest investing in crop science to produce more food with the same land resources

          So, how about the USA sharing with Third World nations some of that science? Why should a poor country like India have to reinvent the wheel when so much food surplus is sitting in warehouses in the rich countries?

          Let's face it, all that advanced agriculture has a *negative* return in investment. India doesn't have those hundreds of billions of dollars that Western Europe and the USA spend in farming subsidies. Not to ment

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by udderly (890305) *

            So, how about the USA sharing with Third World nations some of that science? Why should a poor country like India have to reinvent the wheel when so much food surplus is sitting in warehouses in the rich countries?

            I couldn't agree more.

            Less developed countries do export cash crops. But rich farmers are the true benefactors of the "Green Revolution". Poor farmers cannot afford the patented seeds, tractors, fuel, and everything that's needed to produce the crops American science has developed.

            To feed the starving, many small social actions are needed, such as better education, professional training, crop diversity using native plants which have evolved to be resistant to local pests, etc. This is an effort that does not compete and can perfectly well coexist with and profit from space science.

            I agree. My wife and I have been very active for over ten years in efforts to bring this training and technology to third-world countries. I travel outside the US to teach certain aspects at least twice a year. More help is needed, especially from the type of technologically savvy people you find on /. Feel free to join us if you haven't already.

    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geobeck (924637) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:58AM (#17711008) Homepage

      ...before a gov't starts acting on all of their world-stage aspirations, shouldn't they feed their citizens?

      Let's go back to 1499. European countries were launching voyages of exploration, seeking out new trade routes and discovering new countries. Guess who else was doing that? China. Until their government decided that they should fix their problems at home before spending excessive resources on maritime exploration.

      So where is China today compared to Europe in terms of domestic poverty? If you're going to stay at home until your domestic problems are solved, you're going to stay at home forever.

    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by be-fan (61476) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:11AM (#17711150)
      So after they feed their people today, what do they do tomorrow? Welfare is a luxury for countries who have enough money that they don't need to make hard choices between economic progress and social well-being. For a developing nation, spending money on welfare for today's population is a sure way to perpetuate poverty to future generations. Investing in the economy, on the other hand, at least gives the hope that fewer people in the future will need welfare, and moreover that the government will be able to better afford welfare for those who still do need it.

      There is also something to be said for the importance of a nation having ambitions on the world stage. Let me use as an example Bangladesh, where my parents were born, and which I still visit on occasion. Bangladesh has no ambition as a nation. Bengalis have no national pride to speak of, aside from a generally provincial sense of moral superiority. Their poverty is something that doesn't just manifest itself in the lack of food on the table, but something that infects their very mindset. They accept the state of affairs in their country, the political corruption and the social instability, because they lack the pride to believe that they are entitled to something better. Of the various problems the country faces, this lack of pride is far worse than flooding or hunger or disease combined. India presents a very stark contrast. If you look at the villages of India, you'll see the same hunger and disease you see in the villages of Bangladesh. But Indians have a great pride in their country, and in its long history of civilization. Their ambition drives them to improve their economy, invest in their infrastructure, and preserve their democracy. It is this ambition that makes it likely that in another couple of generations, India won't have to choose between improving their country and feeding the hungry. There is no similar hope for Bangladesh.
    • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:18PM (#17712156)
      Call me old-fashioned, but before a gov't starts acting on all of their world-stage aspirations, shouldn't they feed their citizens?

      The problem with this argument is in India that experiment only cost maybe 30 cents per person. Even if the total cost was $500M there are so many people that when you spread the cost out it becomes affordable. Conversely if you took the money and used it to buy food it would work out to less than US$1 per poor person.

      Giving money or food away does not address the root cause of poverty

      The other thing is that the Indian government did not simply burn up the money. The spent it all. If a space experiment costs $500M then all of that $500 went to some scientific institution, university or the like. Al places that they need to support. Money spent on space is not spent in space it is spent on the ground and goes back into the economy

    • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

      by posterlogo (943853) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:11PM (#17713876)
      Sigh. We always get these posts anytime a 3rd world country tries to expand its horizons. Posts like the parent, or posts referring to charities and such contributing to a country's technological development rather than helping alleviate poverty. I think its incredibly arrogant to dictate to the world's largest democracy what its priorities should be. Show me the country that has *completely* conquered poverty and malnutrition and I'll take your argument to be valid, instead of flamebait. Health care in the US is ranked 15th in the world while we spend enough in Iraq daily to easily alleviate most health care issues and poverty in this country. I don't think you can direct a country of over a billion people to one issue at a time. The nation will follow its course at its pace and we would hope it would do so in a peaceful manner. Space technology is a matter of national security. Much good it would do to be a well fed peaceful country that is constantly being attacked by Pakistani terrorists or under threat of Chinese expansionists tendencies (it's happened before). You act as though Indians are "OK" with the level of poverty and thus feel they can concern themselves with other things. The reality is more that there are many issues facing Indians, and poverty is just one of them. Having a space program is the sign of a decent education system -- though it may not cover everyone yet. Imagine if the Indians hadn't bother to upgrade their telecommunications and computer science experience (instead dumping cash into food every day? Where would the economy be now? I'm encouraged by your sentiment that the situation is heart-breaking, but frankly, your attitude is one of "they're such a primitive people, they should just concentrate on food and shelter." It's one I've seen way to many times here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cervantes (612861)
      I was in India last year; the poverty and malnutrition in the outlying areas is simply heart-breaking. Worse than anywhere else that I've been. Call me old-fashioned, but before a gov't starts acting on all of their world-stage aspirations, shouldn't they feed their citizens?

      I guess that one could make the case that India's space program is an investment in the future, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try to sell that to people who don't have enough food.


      You know, I was in the USA last year, and the po
  • Reentry Technologies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by quark1943 (1054426)
    Wikipedia has a pretty good page on reentry technologies [wikipedia.org]. Not that trivial to get all the systems perfected! A developing country like india needs this impectus to excite younger generation about science and space.

  • "Feed your children India!
    (Score:0, Troll)
    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 22, @09:16AM (#17709874)
    why dont these heartless hindus use some of their engineers to design sanitation systems, water purification plants, food preservation technologies etc? This sorry excuse of a nation has the world's largest concentration of hungry people without access to clean water or toilet facilities. Shame on them!"

    He does have a point however. "The World's Largest Democracy" (tm)
    India spends a lot of effort on deve
  • Best thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fist! Of! Death! (1038822) on Monday January 22, 2007 @09:39AM (#17710092)
    Best to retrieve it before China shoots it down I guess.
  • > India Brings Back Orbiting Satellite to Earth

    You think they're going to leave it out there for China to shoot it down?
    It's like when you see someone practicing reverse parking on your neighbors car.
    You briskly move yours into the garage.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washington dc/la-fg-satellite19jan19,0,2329821.story [latimes.com]
  • Good - the world needs more competition fueling peaceful space industries. And more stakeholders across national borders in space property, so there's more complex consequences to blowing stuff up out there.

    Now, where will the quality ratings come from? A "Consumer Reports" or "JD Power" testing report for these services of varying cost and quality?
  • You mean ... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    " India Brings Orbiting Satellite Back to Earth"
  • Moonraker? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Brunellus (875635) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:10AM (#17710442) Homepage
    I just started humming the theme from "Moonraker"
  • From the 2nd article:

    By the time SRE-1 descended to an altitude of 5 km, aerodynamic breaking had considerably reduced its velocity to 101 m/sec (363 km per hour).

    I guess that's ONE way to do it. <grin>

  • FTA: A Coast Guard helicopter located the spot, and a team drawn from Coast Guard and Navy was soon at the job of retrieving the spacecraft, which they did, and uploaded to a ship "Sarang" to be taken to the spaceport of Sriharikota via Ennore Port.

    Did the U.S. Coast Guard pick up this satellite or was it some sort of Indian Coast Guard? And India has a "Coast Guard?" That article seems really confusing. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if the government has sent the U.S. Coast Guard overseas... nothi
  • Isn't the Sarang a Vulcan ship?
  • I'm pretty sure we've brought back satellites back to earth before, such as Skylab. Oh, they didn't mean cratering it? That's a little different.

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