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Am I missing something?

Posted by: bwana - Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:41 pm
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Am I missing something? 
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Post Am I missing something?   Posted on: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:41 pm
Tubesat allows you to launch anything into low earth orbit for $8K. Forgive me for being a devils advocate, but isnt this a little dangerous? What if some clever terrorist launches a biological/chemical/radioactive payload? And dont tell me that a dangerous payload cannot be disguised as something innocuous, or even 'beneficial'.

This begs a greater question, should technologies that enable an individual to act macroscopically or even globally ever be allowed?


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Post Re: Am I missing something?   Posted on: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:26 pm
Interesting question, but I don't think it's a big issue, nevertheless an issue to think about. The size of the payload is small (0.75-kg) and to quote the source:

Quote:
TubeSats are placed into self-decaying orbits 310 kilometers (192 miles) above the Earth's surface, they do not contribute to any long-term build-up of orbital debris. After a few weeks of operation, they will safely re-enter the atmosphere and burn-up.


So it will never reach earth again and there is certainly no room for additional propulsion (or fuel) to target a certain region or city.

As space becomes more common this will be a bigger issue, but then still why would you launch it into space as traveling on earth is a lot easier? Plenty of governments will be aware of any space launch and the debris / objects will be tracked. For terrorist launching a rocket directly to its destination (into a city) with a bomb is a lot more effective or they can just drive into the city with a truck. I assume terrorists prefer to stay low profile until they strike.

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Post Re: Am I missing something?   Posted on: Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:53 pm
yea... these things are way too small for you to be able to put in a payload that's a credible threat. even if it was a nuclear bomb, it would have to explode very high in the upper atmosphere and would just mess with some communications. biological weapons could not survive re-entry. it's also unlikely that they could be targeted accurately (even to the right country) if they could.

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