Monday, August 14, 2006

U.S. Satellite Protection Plan

Via Technology News Daily.

A proposed US system to protect satellites from solar storms or high-altitude nuclear detonations could cause side-effects that lead to radio communication blackouts, according to new research. If activated, the "radiation belt remediation" (RBR) system could significantly alter the upper atmosphere, seriously disrupting high frequency (HF) radio wave transmissions and GPS navigation around the world.

The remediation system aims to protect hundreds of low earth-orbiting satellites from having their onboard electronics ruined by charged particles in unusually intense Van Allen radiation belts "pumped up" by high-altitude nuclear explosions or powerful solar storms.

The approach, which is being pursued by the US Air Force and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, involves the generation of very low frequency radio waves to flush particles from the radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere over one or several days.

The scientific team from New Zealand, UK and Finland calculate that Earth's upper atmosphere could be dramatically affected by such a system, causing unusually intense HF blackouts around most of the world.

More here.


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