Maybe a Good Idea, Maybe Not

Russian scientists are planning to tweak their ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to target near-earth objects (NEOs), according to a report by news agency TASS. The news came from Sabit Saitgarayev, the leading researcher at the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. The projectiles could be aimed at meteorites measuring 20-50 meters in size.

The ICBMs would need upgrades for the purpose. Also, those NEOs include our satellites—weather-watching, surveillance, and GPS, for instance.

There are, of course, cheaper and faster methods of striking satellites already extant. This sort of research, though, also is a necessary step toward developing means of targeting other systems farther out: industrial and other facilities in earth orbit (not necessarily close in, depending on the source of the factories’ inputs and raw materials), in lunar orbit or at a Lagrange point, or facilities on the moon.

Of course those facilities don’t yet exist, but Russia, and the PRC, would like to have weapons available for that eventuality, an eventuality that is coming.

Also of course, this proposed Russian development isn’t, of necessity, aimed at developing a new weapon system.

“Good idea” depends on your frame of reference.

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