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Old July 27 2013, 04:24 PM   #31
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Satellites in Space

sojourner wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You would still need to target individual satellites at that radius. not very effective use of nuclear warheads...
THAT depends on where you choose to engage them.

For example, if you deliberately knock out all of America's communication satellites when they just happened to be directly over the continental United States and/or U.S. military bases, not only would you knock out the satellites, the resulting EMP would also zap half the computers in the country.
Comsats are in geosynchronous orbit. They don't wander around.
Civilian satellites, yes. A surprising number of military datalink satellites are still operating at lower altitudes (I'm not entirely sure why).

Would an EMP have the range to take out both a satellite at that altitude and whatever is on the Earth below it?
Hard to say, because the EMP is generated by the interaction of the warhead's radiation with the Earth's ionosphere and not by the bomb itself. The Starfish Prime tests demonstrated that the EMP actually gets STRONGER the higher up you go; an airburst at 100km produces an EMP that covers a smaller area and is less intense than an airburst at 500km or higher.

But nobody's ever tested a nuclear weapon at intermediate/satellite orbits above 5,000km. Could be the radiation pulse is too weak to produce a significant EMP, or it could create reactions in the Earth's magnetic field that fries all of our brains like so many eggs.
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