Previously, if you had heard of a neighborhood watch scheme, it would conjure up images of old wrinkly grandmothers with shotguns, peeking out from behind curtains. They would be protecting the neighborhood from the scum of the streets, but at the same time, they could tell you who was sleeping with the slutty blonde at number 32.
But now, the whole concept of a neighborhood watch is being taken off planet earth and into space. The granny with the shotgun will instead be two satellites, and instead of tracking scum and keeping tabs on the gossip, the satellites will be tracking space debris (scum of the galaxy!), and any foreign spacecraft out to do the US harm.
Yes it’s like the Wild Wild West up there in space. No more “one small step for man”. Instead, the dialogue will go something like this: “Is that space debris heading straight for us?”
Air Force Tracking Debris
The head honcho of Air Force Space Command (which must be the coolest place in the world to work), has told an Air Force meeting about a declassified program called the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP).
You know, the acronym would be much better if the Awareness was put as the second word. Then drop “Situational Awareness”. Then it would be Geosynchronous Awareness Space Program (GASP).
Or, if they ever decide to have soldiers for patrolling space, they could be Space Protection Interstellar Troopers (SPIT).
They should hire me to do this stuff and fire their whole Acronyms Selection Section (ASS). They would save millions.
The Air Force is seemingly tracking 23,000 pieces of debris at 23,000 miles above earth. I’m sure some ADD guy at the Pentagon is happy right now that all of the numbers align. It calms him. But I wonder what he would do if somebody fired up a Pepsi can into space, or a Mars Bar wrapper, and made it 23,001 pieces of debris at 23,000 feet?
Don’t you think it is amusing that they can track a piece of solitary debris up in space, but when we needed to find Bin Laden or weapons of mass destruction, suddenly the US military doesn’t have a clue.
“Find one guy in the middle of nowhere? What are we? Miracle workers? Stop talking crazy. Now let’s get a close-up at Neil Armstrong’s dirty socks 23,000 miles away.”
The new satellites will also show the US what other countries have in orbit, so they can weep about how much farther ahead China is. The guys back down on earth can take copious screenshots and fire them along to Research & Development for immediate copying….er….studying.
Lift-off will be later this year, and they will be relieved by two replacement satellites in 2016. This will occur just in time to update the 2014 satellites on the progress of the presidential election campaign. Depending on who is leading in the polls, the 2014 satellites may well decide to stay in space and help out for a few more years.