SPACE SWATTER KEEPS HITTING

For some reason, there have been questions in Defense Department circles about whether or not it's a good idea to fund a "giant, kevlar fly swatter that is supposed to whack satellites out of the orbit."anti-sat weapon.JPGLuckily, the Arms Control Wonk tells us, the pro-swatter crowd seems to have gained the upper hand. The Kinetic Energy Anti-Satellite (KE-ASAT) program is still getting Pentagon cash.The KE-ASAT has spooked some in U.S. Strategic Command, because of the debris it might generate from a mid-orbit smackdown. "As of mid-2001 three prototypes had been built, and all three remained in storage at a Boeing facility in Anaheim, CA," GlobalSecurity.org notes. Defense Department higher-ups haven't funded the program in a few years.But the Army and the Missile Defense Agency have continued to slip KE-ASAT a few million annually. And now, the Army's Space and Missile Command is thinking about dropping $15 mil to start flight testing parts of the system. If all works according to plan, a swatter prototype could take off some time in 2007.

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