Remember how I told you that the Pentagon had plans to blow up an errant spy satellite with a missile? Well, it's happening, and it might just be happening tonight if the weather clears up. Blowin' stuff up, hot diggity damn! The downside? This operation in glorified fireworks is gonna cost taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million. That makes it less fun sounding, doesn't it?
Yes, with each missile costing around $10 million and two or three shots possibly necessary, this isn't a cheap process. So why is the Pentagon dropping this much money on something that, in all likelihood, would mostly burn up on reentry and land in the middle of the ocean?
Well, for one, this thing has 1,000 pounds of Hydrazine rocket fuel on board, which isn't anything you'd want landing in your front yard. According to the EPA, "exposure to high levels of hydrazine may [induce] irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, and coma in humans." Hilariously enough, Hydrazine is also found in second-hand cigarette smoke, just not quite as much as would explode in your face if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time when this satellite fell.
But wouldn't all that rocket fuel burn up on reentry? You'd think it'd be the first to go, right? I mean, I'm certainly no rocket scientist, but that makes sense to me. So what other reasons could there be for spending so much coin on this operation?
Well, this is actually a pretty sweet opportunity for the military to test out its sea-based strategic missile defense system. Popular Science does a great job breaking down exactly what this test is going to entail. So essentially, this whole thing is either a way to save our environment from 1,000 pounds of toxic rocket fuel or an excuse to test out the militaries blowing-stuff-up program.
In any case, there will be explosions, and we will find video of said explosions right when it happens. Our priorities are straight. Stay tuned.