THE VAULT

It’s Raining Death
February 15, 2008 by The Colonel

You've just been Sputnik'd.

Recently, it came to light that a US spy satellite, which was launched in December of 2006, had almost immediately lost power shortly after reaching orbit and is currently spinning out of control, hurtling around our planet as we speak. As stunned as this faithful Slantmouth servant is to say this: That’s not the bad news. The bad news is that it’s going to come crashing down to Earth, and while it will likely be in a spectacular fashion, the chances are equally likely that it could kill someone.

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, who heads of U.S. Northern Command, said, “We’re aware that this satellite is out there,” pausing briefly to dab sweat from his brow, “We’re aware it is a fairly substantial size. And we know there is at least some percentage that it could land on ground as opposed to in the water.” For the record, Renuart’s definition of “fairly substantial” is bus-sized. That’s right, there’s a freaking bus of doom with at least some odds of landing in someone’s living room.

To be fair, the thing will undoubtedly break up upon re-entry, but that only means it could land in a lot of peoples’ living rooms. If there could possibly be a cherry to put atop this flaming, nightmarish sundae of destruction, the satellite also carries a toxic rocket fuel called Hydrazine. The staff here at Slantmouth are all currently writing their last rites. But that’s just because we got an employee screening of The Bucket List and it totally got us thinking.

Seriously, the satellite’s no big deal, but that’s only because the government, as usual, has a plan. Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffrey announced yesterday that the Pentagon is going to do what they always do: Blow things up.

“After further review of this option and, in particular, consideration of the question of saving or reducing injury to human life, the president, on the recommendation of his national and homeland teams, directed the Department of Defense to carry out the intercept,” Jeffrey said. With a crack team like that making decisions, how could anything possibly go wrong?

A NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, added, “If we miss, nothing changes. If we shoot and barely touch it, the satellite is just barely in orbit. If we shoot and get a direct hit, that’s a clean kill and we’re in good shape.” Now, far be it for us to point out that there’s a whole lot that could go wrong with haphazardly launching missiles at an out of control satellite. For instance, what if the missile and the satellite join forces? Or fall in love?

Still, the staff here at Slantmouth puts our faith in our Uncle Government to gracefully sweep their mistakes under the rug, then tuck us in and read us a nice bed-time story. We’re sure Prince Missile and Princess Flaming Satellite of Doom will live happily ever after.

~The Colonel