A beefed-up missile defense system might appear like a great idea in a time of heightened nuclear tensions. However, such improvements could have risky costs.
The existing United States missile defense system is not all it was cracked up to, doing undependably in tests, missile defense expert and physicist Laura Grego debated on April 14 at the event of the American Physical Society. Improving the power of the system, by creating missile defense in orbit, for instance, might put the planet on a slippery slope to space warfare.
The concerns come against the backdrop of the missile tests and nuclear weapons of North Korea and the upcoming missile defense review from the US Department of Defense, anticipated in May. The study could boost up efforts to change the existing system, which includes plans to strike at missile from the orbit.
According to Grego, the missile defense is once again having its day. Improved by a rocket engine, a ballistic missile sails into orbit before freeing a warhead, which plummets to its mark under the force of gravity. Missile defense systems are made to shoot down those missiles in flight. However, today’s technology does not wholly safeguard the United States. Trials of the operation of the country have been hit or miss, often succeeding and often failing to intercept the mark.
Even though not explicitly made for it, a network capable of preventing intercontinental ballistic missiles can also be utilized to destroy satellite because some satellites travel at speeds and altitudes comparable with such weapons. There is some example for this: in 2008, the US shot down one of their satellites that were malfunctioning. Similarly, China destroyed one of their fleet in 2007. Thus, if nations around the globe begin ramping up their missile defense, this could have the Earth tiptoeing further closer to space warfare.
With the use of anti-satellite weapons could have a massive consequence that includes long-lasting space debris, which could ruin spacecraft. Even if nations stop from utilizing ground-based missile defense systems for their anti-satellite capacities, there is another push to bring missiles into space. US politicians have frequently floated the concept of taking weapons to orbit as means to get around limitations of the ground-based networks.
Missile defense researcher and MIT physicist Theodore Postol have a different concept for safeguarding the Us, at least from North Korea. It is a drone, flying above the sea of North Korea, could bring an interceptor, which could shoot down a weapon in the early stage of flight.