August 26, 2008
Satellite Shooting Unneeded Says Scientist
The U.S. Navy's February missile shoot down of a spy satellite was unnecessary, a Harvard scientist and former NASA employee said.
Yousaf Butt filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for the National Air and Space Agency's re-entry threat analysis from the disabled USA-193 satellite. His conclusions contradict the government's official explanation that the satellite's hydrazine fuel tank posed a health hazard.
Butt described government modeling as oversimplified and biased against likelihoods that the tank would have burned when re-entering the atmosphere.
"The official study released so far certainly doesn't support the contention that the tank
would have survived intact to the ground. In fact, despite its optimistic oversimplifications, the
released study indicates that the tank would certainly have demised high up in the atmosphere" he wrote in the Aug. 21 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.