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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Rockets and Newspapers and Ideology

Most of the major newsies have a headline out there similiar to that of theThe New York Times : Defense Missile for U.S. System Fails to Launch, announcing yet another "failure" of the missile interceptor system.

Miserable failure, the second time straight, right?
Power Line has this commentary:

The Reuters report by Jim Wolf of a failed missile defense test last night is flawed by either intent or ignorance.

The first test in nearly two years of a multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile shield failed on Wednesday when the interceptor missile shut down as it prepared to launch in the central Pacific, the Pentagon said.

The interceptor missile did not shut down because of some malfunction, it was shut down intentionally because of inability to monitor performance of a boost stage rocket detected during pre-launch system checks. The boost stage might have been set to work properly or it might not have, but a test of this magnitude and expense demands ability to monitor all mission critical systems so that all necessary data is available for post-mission review. When it became clear that this would not be the case, the mission was scrubbed, not failed.

About 16 minutes earlier, a target missile carrying a mock warhead had been successfully fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska, according to a statement from the Missile Defense Agency.

The aborted $85 million test appeared likely to set back plans for activation of a rudimentary bulwark against long-range ballistic missiles that could be fired by countries like North Korea.

Unfortunately, a very expensive target drone was lost, and somebody is presently being chewed out because of that. But the kill vehicle and its delivery system remain intact for future use, and by far most of the test hardware funds were expended there. As for schedule delay, expect this test to be rescheduled as soon as a replacement target is ready.

Media coverage of scientific and technical issues is driven largely by ideology, not science. ...The MSM will continue to denounce missile defense as impossible--I think they've given up on the argument that it would be "destabilizing"--right up to the moment when it is successfully deployed.

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