A history of the Kodiak Rocket Launch Complex:
Dear No Nukers:
Wow. You would think that with:
* two years to prepare for it
* tens of billions of dollars thrown at it
* increased testing secrecy / security
* a long history of fantastic test rigging AND
* dramatically lowered expectations for missile defense tests (see, now they just state beforehand that INTERCEPTION is NOT the GOAL!!)
- you would think that the Missile Defense Agency would be able to at least make it look like their latest test was a success. But no, this system actually seems to perform WORSE with every test! This time, they couldn't even get the 'smart' interceptor launched. Looks like they need some industrial strength rocket viagra if they are ever going to be able to lie about "deployment". Oh wait - they also said that this test would have nothing to do with the deployment schedule. Thank heavens. I personally can't wait until they start trying to blast these things over our heads from Greely. Ever wonder how many Humvees you could armor for the cost of one of these tests? Hey, at least they got the mock warhead launched from Kodiak no problem (SUCCESS!)- doesn't that make you feel safe. The test had already been delayed several times due to bad weather, but that's okay because what Evildoer would ever consider trying to nuke us while it's raining?!?
The second article copied below is a satirical piece about how the test failed due to the smart missile's philosophical qualms concerning its role.
'Son of Star Wars' missile test fails
The first test in nearly two years of a planned multi-billion dollar United States anti-missile shield has failed, with the interceptor missile shutting down on its launch pad in the central Pacific before it was launched, the Pentagon said.
About 16 minutes earlier, a target missile carrying a mock warhead had been successfully launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska, the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency said in a statement.
The aborted mission appeared likely to set back plans for activation of the rudimentary bulwark, known as "Son of Star Wars", against ballistic missiles that could be fired by countries like North Korea.
The system is a scaled-down version of a ballistic missile shield first outlined in March 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and derided by critics as "Star Wars".
In 2002, President George W. Bush pledged to have initial elements of the program up and running by the end of this year, although critics say that tests like the one on Wednesday failed to demonstrate any real-world capabilities.
"This is a serious setback for a program that had not attempted a flight
intercept test for two years," Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester under Mr Reagan, said in an email exchange with Reuters.
The Missile Defence Agency said an unspecified "anomaly" had caused the interceptor to shut down automatically in its silo at the Kwajalein Test Range in the Marshall Islands.
The test had not been tied to the question of when to declare the system operational, said Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman.
"That's something that will have to be considered," he said.
Earlier this week the Missile Defence Agency postponed the test flight due to the failure of a radio transmitter.
It is not known what impact the failure will have on the Missile Defence Agency's plans for a fully-fledged intercept attempt next March or April.
In earlier tests, target missiles have been successfully intercepted in five out of eight attempts, but those have been under artificial conditions using some surrogate components.
Since the last test in December 2002, flight tests have been delayed or cancelled six times.
In December last year, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced that Australia would participate in the US missile defence program.
"Smart" Missile Defense System Test Refuses to Launch
(email to a friend)
KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Pacific Ocean - Weather problems and miscellaneous technical glitches have become the norm for the Missile Defense Agency, tasked with creating a continental shield against incoming ballistic missiles from threats such as North Korea and Iran. But officials are calling Wednesday's failed test a King's Dilemma. "We may well have hit the ceiling on where we can go with smart missile design," admitted Lieutenant Cyrus Airedale, "Once an interceptor starts saying, 'I don't want to die,' and asking, 'What did this missile do to warrant my destroying it?', that's when I think we need to look into dumbing-down the design a shade."
The press release issued by the agency officially said the test missile "experienced an anomaly" before launch and could not be used in the test. But officials speaking anonymously have been more forthright, "The dang thing talked to us, what we were supposed to do?" The missile's brain -- a mass of brain neurons suspended in a wire mesh -- has spent the past several months "learning" how to play a game designed to mimic the flight of a missile interceptor. "We didn't have time to design our own game," explained one official, "So we just downloaded something that sounded close. Some shareware thing, it was all properly registered. Sent us a T-shirt, too." The 10-year-old game -- Patriot vs. Scud -- has a large underground following and an active Internet message board.
"I wondered about that guy, he just posted as 'brainlike mass in a wire substrate.' I mean, that didn't strike me as a good handle, you know? And no avatar or anything. He was just weird," said one board member, referring to the test missile's posting on the board, "He's a great pilot, though. Way better than me!"
"Apparently it was his -- excuse me, its -- activity on the Internet that led it to conclude that it didn't want to 'die'," said Colonel Hawthorne L. King, of the MDA, "We tried to explain that it would actually be on the ground the entire time, that it was much too valuable to let be destroyed, we would get it a new interceptor, but it just wouldn't listen. 'I like my body,' it said, referring to the interceptor missile, 'A new body wouldn't really be me, it would just be a copy.' It creeps me out to think about that little blob of goo being concerned about which aluminum tube was its own."
"Weren't they trying something with lasers?" asked one official, "How's that coming?"
Test of U.S. missile defence shield fails
CTV.ca News Staff
An attempt to launch an interceptor missile as part of the U.S. missile defence shield failed early Wednesday in the first test of the system in nearly two years.
The Missile Defense Agency said the ground-based interceptor automatically shutdown "due to an unknown anomaly" shortly before it was to be launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean.
A target missile carrying a mock warhead successfully launched from Kodiak, Alaska, at 12:45 a.m. ET.
Officials said they would now review the pre-launch data to determine the cause of the shutdown.
The missile defence shield was meant to be in operation by the end of 2004.
In earlier tests, missile interceptors had a record of five-for-eight in hitting target missiles.
Wednesday's test had been put off several times because of bad weather, and a malfunction of a recovery vessel not directly related to the equipment being tested, The Associated Press reported.
U.S. President George Bush announced the system in 2002, saying it would help protect against a missile attack from rogue states such as North Korea and other parts of eastern Asia.
Last August, Ottawa agreed to amend its agreement in NORAD to allow the U.S to use the missile warning system for its controversial plan for a ballistic missile defence system.
However, it seems that Bush is seeking more help from Canada. On his recent visit to Halifax, Bush publicly asked for Ottawa's participation in the system.
Prime Minister Paul Martin has said he is against the "weaponization of space" -- a claim he reiterated in his year-end interview with CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson and Ottawa bureau chief Craig Oliver.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Missile defence shield test fails
The first test in almost two years of the planned multi-billion dollar US anti-missile shield has failed.
The Pentagon said an interceptor missile did not take off and was automatically shut down on its launch pad in the central Pacific.
A target missile carrying a mock warhead had been fired 16 minutes earlier from Kodiak Island in Alaska.
The Pentagon is spending $10bn a year on the missile system, which was meant to be in operation by the end of 2004.
The Missile Defence Agency said an "unknown anomaly" was to blame for the system shutting down.
A spokesman said officials would now study data from the launch site at Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, to establish what went wrong.
In earlier tests, target missiles have been successfully intercepted in five out of eight attempts.
Wednesday's trial had been put off four times because of bad weather at launch sites and, on Sunday, because a radio transmitter failed.
A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters news agency the test had not been tied to the question of when the national missile defence system would be declared operational.
Philip Coyle, chief weapons tester under former US President Ronald Reagan, told Reuters: "This is a serious setback for a programme that had not attempted a flight intercept test for two years."
The goal, announced by US President George W Bush in 2002, was to have a basic ground-based shield in place by the end of this year.
The last test, in December 2002, failed when the interceptor missile did not separate from its booster rocket.
The programme has been nicknamed "son of Star Wars" after the original Strategic Defence Initiative - or "Star Wars" - outlined by President Reagan in the 1980s.
Coordinator, No Nukes North
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Fairbanks, AK 99708
Vive la resistance!
"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military
The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will
We must never let the weight of this combination
endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
-- Dwight Eisenhower