The USSR, Yuri Andropov promised solemnly in August, will "not be the first to put into outer space any type of antisatellite weapon." With a sincere smile, the Soviet prime minister announced to a group of visiting US senators that the USSR had made "an exceptionally important decision" to enter into a "unilateral moratorium" on such weapons as long as other countries would likewise observe restraint.
The declaration marked a new round in Soviet efforts to portray the USSR as the defender of peace in outer space. The move, Andropov emphasized to the senators, "is yet another concrete demonstration of the good will of the Soviet Union, of its determination in the matter of strengthening peace and security." The pledge received the kind of rave reviews for which Soviet propagandists must have hoped. It was all of a piece with a public-relations blitz by which Moscow has been dismayingly successful in portraying the US space program, including the space shuttle, as an imminent threat to the "previously peaceful" arena of outer space.
In truth, however, Andropov's promise was a sham, violated even before he uttered it. Both the US and Soviet governments have tested antisatellite (ASAT) systems in the past. But the USSR is the only country to have put test weapons into orbit and is the only country that today possesses an operational capability to destroy other countries' reconnaissance satellites.
And now Andropov, joined by Western figures, wants to freeze further developments. Those developments include a new US ASAT system that is in the testing stage. But they also potentially include the testing of prototypes required to move President Reagan's proposed space-based US defense system from conception toward reality. This turn-of-the-century "star wars" system is the only US defense against missile attack currently under discussion. Forestalling this potentially revolutionary development may well be the ultimate aim of Moscow's phony pledge not to be the first to put antisatellite weapons in space.
The pledge itself is much less meaningful than Western enthusiasts made out. The Soviets claim that they have never even tested ASATs, so they can say there is nothing they have done in the past that they will feel constrained from doing in the future—such as launching "killer satellites" disguised as "scientific exploration space vehicles." Moreover, launchings of the US space shuttle, such as occurred only a few days after the Andropov statement, already in Soviet terms justify abandoning the "moratorium," since the USSR has made it clear that it regards the shuttle as a potential antisatellite weapon. So Andropov's well-publicized pledge is of dubious import.
Andropov did mention in passing that "existing ASAT systems" should be dismantled. Many Western observers reported this as a promise to dismantle the Soviets' ASAT system. But according to earlier official Soviet statements, and Andropov himself, they have nothing to dismantle—they deny possessing such a system. And from this position of self-proclaimed purity, the Soviets launch hypocritical attacks on American "space militarism."
Two years ago, Soviet diplomats at the United Nations proposed a new international treaty to ban deployment of weapons of any kind in space. Simultaneously, a well-orchestrated and well-echoed propaganda barrage was unleashed against NASA's then-new space shuttle vehicle: it was falsely accused of carrying weapons into space (including H-bombs and "death rays"), of preparing to steal innocent Soviet space vehicles, and of being designed to act as a "space pirate" for the Pentagon.
Recently, a letter from Andropov to American scientists opposed to both sides' antisatellite weapons (their operational one and our developing one), as well as to Reagan's suggested turn-of-the-century space-based antimissile system, was answered by Andropov with much ballyhoo and moralizing—together with a number of bald lies about the true state of "space militarization" in the world. A few weeks later an open letter "To All The World's Scientists," signed by top USSR scientists (including the developers of Russia's space weapons—men such as Glushko, Mishin, Belotserkovskiy, Nadiradze, and especially Chelomei), called on everyone to endorse the latest Kremlin peace-in-space plans.
The timing of these events is hardly arbitrary. Although the United States possessed a fairly unsophisticated ASAT capability until 1975 (see sidebar, page 28), after that the Soviets had the field to themselves. In 1978 the Carter administration offered the Soviets a moratorium on ASAT development, but they did not respond and continued with testing of their system. Thus, the United States began serious development of a small interceptor missile to be launched from a fighter jet. The initial flight tests of this $2-billion system (which is unlikely to be operational until 1988, at the earliest) had been scheduled for late 1983 when Andropov offered an ASAT moratorium in August.
The US ASAT program involves an air-launched missile with a small homing payload. No warhead is involved—the missile kills its target through impact alone. After the missile is launched from the aircraft, a two-stage booster propels the payload to the vicinity of the target satellite. There, the computer-guided, heat-sensing payload homes in on the target and collides with it. The carrier aircraft is the F-15 Eagle; the missile consists of solid-fuel, off-the-shelf booster stages plus a 12-inch, 60-pound miniature homing vehicle (MHV). Range has not been disclosed in open sources, but informed analysts estimate that the ASAT missile may be able to hit targets in low orbits (up to 300 miles above the earth's surface).
The Soviet system is quite different. It uses a three-ton payload that is actually put into orbit to chase down its target. It is thus a "killer satellite" as opposed to the "satellite killer" ASAT missile being developed by the US military. Once within lethal range, the Soviet ASAT detonates a shrapnel blast that destroys the target with high-velocity pellets.
The Soviet system has been operational since at least 1971. In recent years, Soviet space engineers have been testing two major improvements over the original, but still workable, system: a quicker kill and a less-jammable guidance system using infrared rather than radar. These tests, according to some sources, have not been successful. But the original radar-guided system remains on call for use against US satellites, which have not been equipped with radar-jamming devices.
Moscow has stridently and unwaveringly denounced the development of the US ASAT system as though it were the first such weapon ever built by either side. The Soviet negotiator at the UN's Committee on Disarmament, Viktor Israelyan, intoned on April 23: "The orbiting of antisatellite systems or any other types of weapons would inevitably have an extreme destabilizing effect on the international situation, and the danger of war—a nuclear, all-destructive war threatening the whole of mankind—would sharply grow." Andropov's April 27 letter replying to the American scientists referred to "the extremely dangerous consequences of saturating space with deadly weapons." He went on to pontificate: "I would like to hope that the scientists and public personalities of the whole world will also make a contribution of their own to making certain that space will forever remain free of any weapons at all, that it will not become an area of military clashes."
Moscow commentator Vladimir Serov repeated the charge last August 30: "The large-scale plans of the Reagan administration to design antisatellite weapons violate the letter and spirit of the Soviet-American ABM [antiballistic missile] treaty currently in effect, which bans any obstruction to the operation of national technical means of observation, including satellites. The violation of these provisions of the treaty is fraught with the threat of an unchecked arms race and enhanced risk of nuclear missile war."
In counterpoint, Moscow pours out propaganda that the Soviet killer-satellite is "part of the mythical Soviet threat," a fiction dreamed up by CIA slanderers to justify plans for American orbital aggression. Col. A.T. Timofeyev, a spokesman for the Soviet Defense Ministry, wrote in Pravda in August 1982: "The United States, supposedly, is developing space weaponry programs only out of fear that similar projects have been launched in the USSR. All this is a premeditated lie, a propagandistic myth.…The Soviet government has undeviatingly striven to see that space will become an arena of exclusively peaceful cooperation."
Radio Moscow last August 23, just days after Andropov's phony ASAT pledge, carried this commentary by Viktor Olin: "Washington…alleges that there is a Soviet superiority in the field [of ASATs]. These arguments, if scrutinized, hold no water." And Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko, in an August 21 letter to UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, declaimed the need for "urgently taking effective measures to prevent the projection of the arms race to where there has so far been none, namely, to outer space."
These fraudulent denials of previous Soviet space-weapons tests are about as explicit as convoluted Soviet diplomatic language allows. And the impression created is totally false.
The Soviets' deception is paralleled in the West by vociferous critics who, seeking to influence US public opinion and congressional action, have frequently misrepresented the relative effectiveness and operational status of the US and Soviet ASAT weapons. The Soviet ASAT, whose existence these groups can hardly deny, is portrayed as next to useless, ineffective, and of no danger to US defenses. The US ASAT, whose development these groups want to block, is portrayed as a vastly more sophisticated and powerful "overresponse" that will severely threaten legitimate Soviet space installations, such as early-warning satellites. If the US government proceeds with developing an ASAT system, warn these critics, the move will propel the reluctant but genuinely aggrieved Soviets into a regrettable response.
But these claims are phony. The Soviet ASAT satellite works quite well and is a genuine threat to the US reconnaissance satellites that monitor Soviet military posture (satellites that the Soviets have agreed by treaty never to attack) and to some US military navigation and weather satellites. The US ASAT missile is a minimal response and no new breakthrough. It is thought to be necessary because of the existence of a specific type of genuinely dangerous Soviet satellite that supports a Soviet war-fighting capability.
Anti-ASAT groups in the West have displayed considerable logical gymnastics in their descriptions of the Soviet killer-satellite and the planned American ASAT missile. The Soviet space weapon is associated with such terms as "unsophisticated," "brute force," and "rather primitive" by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The group has also called it "cumbersome and inflexible," "rudimentary," "very unreliable," "based upon 1960s technology," and "rather clumsy." Barry Schneider, director of the Center for International Security Studies, characterized it as "crude" in an article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In recent congressional debate, Rep. George Brown (D–Calif.) called the Soviet ASAT "ludicrously ineffective," while allied congressman Joe Moakley (D–Mass.) merely dubbed it "very questionable." (In a press release, Moakley later called it "crude" and of "low reliability.") It's supposed to be limited to a single launch site and not able to reach the really important US defense satellites; according to Dr. Michio Kaku, director of the Institute for Peace and Safe Technology, "Soviet killer satellites are unsophisticated machines able to home in only on carefully preprogrammed dummy satellites locked into special orbits…at 200 miles or less."
The accuracy of such claims is highly questionable, at best. For example, the maximum demonstrated range of the Soviet system is six times as great as Kaku claimed. And while the killer-satellite has only been tested from one base, it uses a standard SS-9 military booster for which there are hundreds of suitable underground silos all across the USSR. Recent reports claim that five launching pads in Central Asia are dedicated to ASAT launchers.
Nor are the claims of unreliability to be taken seriously. Recent failures have been in the testing of new, more-advanced infrared guidance systems, while the standard radar guidance system has worked very well for more than a decade. Were the Soviets to launch a killer-satellite against a space target (and they could probably do it with only a few days notice), the odds are very high that the target would be destroyed by a single shot.
Yet in Congress last June, Rep. George Brown displayed large posters asserting that it would take three Soviet ASAT shots to guarantee a 95 percent kill probability. That works out to about 65 percent reliability per shot.
Even in its early test program, however, the killer-satellite did better than that. Of the first four tests in the late 1960s, half worked. This was followed by three straight successes in 1971, and the system was declared operational. Beginning in 1976, a new test series began, and 13 more shots were made through mid-1982. Half a dozen involved an abbreviated chase strategy, and five others tested a new guidance sensor; neither improvement seemed to work very well, but in the meantime there were also occasional "troop-training" launches of the standard design—and it worked quite well.
In its entire flight history over the past 15 years, there have been 10 test shots of the operational killer-satellite, and it has worked 7 times. Moreover, 6 out of the last 7 worked—that's 86 percent.
In contrast to all the negative terms used to characterize the Soviet system, the US system is invariably referred to as "advanced," "far superior," or "much more sophisticated." Yet specific claims for its capability are frequently as off-base as those for the Soviet system's incapability.
For example, Sen. Larry Pressler (R–S.D.) recently wrote that "our weapon would be able to knock out more than one hundred Soviet satellites in a day." But this is totally absurd. There aren't more than a few dozen passing within its altitude range in a week, and there are only 80 Soviet military satellites operating at one time anyway, most in orbits far too high for the planned ASAT missile to reach. Besides, engineers familiar with the targeting processes for the ASAT system assert that at most the intercept geometry for launching the F-15s could be computed simultaneously for only a few different target satellites in any 24-hour period, using existing ground-based computers.
No comparison of the two ASAT systems would be fair without considering potential targets. The United States launches only a handful of long-lived reconnaissance satellites every year, and replacing the loss of one or two could take many, many months. The Soviets launch dozens of short-lived satellites every year and could replace the loss of several of them within a week. To accomplish an equivalent "denial of function," the United States would need to be able to destroy many times as many as the Soviets—if reconnaissance satellites were indeed the targets.
In terms of range, the Soviet killer-satellite has been tested out to more than 1,000 miles. And its operating ceiling is limited only by rocket power. The Soviets already have one space booster quite capable of carrying its ASAT satellite out to the critical geosynchronous (22,000-mile) orbits where America's most important warning satellites roost. And the Pentagon claims that Soviet rocket engineers are developing another booster of similar power but much greater flexibility.
The US ASAT missile, it is claimed by some (such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and William J. Broad of the New York Times), will threaten the Soviet network of early warning satellites that keep watch over US missile launchings. Most analysts agree that such a threat is indeed undesirable—and that it does not exist. The US missile cannot reach the Soviet early warning satellites. Their lowest altitudes (400 miles) occur over the far southern Pacific and Indian oceans, well beyond F-15 range from either Australia or Diego Garcia.
A key point about the two systems is often overlooked. The Soviets' is a space-to-space weapon; it operates in orbit, across the invisible threshold that differentiates true space systems from ground-launched missiles (such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, which, although they travel through space, are not legally considered space objects). The US system, however, is an extension of traditional surface-to-air interceptor missiles defending a fixed geographical area on Earth (whereas the Soviet killer-satellite can pursue and destroy its target over any point on the globe). As such, the American system takes the form of time-honored conventional defensive weapons, breaking no new qualitative ground in weaponry.
Few critics seem to have realized that the air-launched nature of the US ASAT system is actually a reflection, not of the advanced technology of the system, but of its limitations. The missile must be launched directly into the path of the oncoming target satellite, just as the target is approaching. The target's successive orbital paths can be 1,000 miles apart, so fixed ground bases are rarely in range.
The Soviet orbital system, on the other hand, retains the significant advantage that the weapon can indeed be fired from a fixed site, once Earth's rotation carries that site into the target satellite's path. The target could be anywhere at that time, even half a world away. This is because once in orbit the Soviet killer-satellite can relentlessly continue the pursuit for hours if need be (the US satellite killer can only remain in flight for a few minutes).
The US system is much more difficult to upgrade than the Soviet system. (By that token, it is the Soviet ASAT, not the US ASAT, that is "more sophisticated" and "flexible.") To reach vital targets at geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles high, the USSR would need only to double the lifetime of its vehicle (a few more batteries), while the US missile would need a lifetime 50-100 times longer than the current version (practically impossible without a total redesign).
The same goes for propulsion: The Soviets could use one of several more-powerful boosters, as could the US (and, in fact, the Trident missile has been proposed for this purpose). But the Soviet kill mechanism (shrapnel) is independent of altitude, while the US kill mechanism (direct impact) depends wholly on the target's orbital velocity—and the satellites at geosynchronous altitude move much more slowly, reducing the effectiveness of the US system by a factor of more than 10.
The Soviet system could be modified to perform multiple kills with several independent mortar shells; the US system destroys itself totally on impact. Lastly, the Soviet system could readily be modified into a "space mine" designed to orbit for months near a potential target; the US system has no such capability.
It was limitations such as these that recently led the General Accounting Office (GAO) to issue a critical report on the US ASAT missile, precisely because it is not likely to be effective against more than a narrow range of Soviet target satellites. The GAO study thus directly refutes the claims of critics that the US system is "far superior" to the Soviets'.
Left out of the anti-ASAT furor is a discussion of other Soviet space weapons. In the late 1960s, the Soviets signed a treaty forbidding the orbiting of nuclear weapons—and proceeded to perfect a system for exactly that. The Fractional Orbit Bombardment System, or FOBS, was not technically a violation of the letter of the treaty because only the actual use—but not the testing—of such systems was forbidden.
And much later, despite worldwide alarm over the Soviet nuclear reactor that fell into the Indian Ocean last winter, little attention was paid to the purpose of that kind of satellite (of which three have now dropped out of the skies by accident). The RORSATs (Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellites) are designed to utilize powerful radar to spot and target Western naval fleets for attack by Soviet strike forces. It is this type of satellite, not the passive and treaty-protected strategic reconnaissance systems, that is the specific target for which the US ASAT missile is designed. The Soviet RORSATs' active combat role makes them too dangerous to tolerate, according to Pentagon officials, so it may be desirable to destroy them during periods of tense international confrontation short of all-out nuclear exchange.
Nor is the currently operational killer-satellite the only ASAT weapon available to the USSR. Since the early 1960s, the Soviets have had an antimissile complex around Moscow (the Galosh, or ABM-1). Its missiles, with nuclear or conventional warheads, can easily reach 100 miles or more into space, where US military reconnaissance satellites operate. Many antidefense advocates ignore the Moscow ABMs; one, Daniel Deudney of the Worldwatch Institute, even explicitly denies that they exist!
Meanwhile, reports of the existence of more-advanced Soviet systems, such as two ground-based lasers with enough power and precision for an ASAT application, remain questionable but very possible. According to Air Force magazine: "There is strong circumstantial evidence that the Soviets are using their manned Salyut space station to calibrate and refine the targeting and tracking mechanism of ground-based military lasers. Crews aboard the space station are instructed routinely to put on their 'goggles' when Salyut overflies Soviet territory where these laser devices appear to be located." Press reports (the most recent early last summer) that such weapons have actually already been used to disable US spy satellites have not been taken seriously by most space analysts, although there now allegedly exists at the classified level a growing body of substantial circumstantial evidence for such use.
Moscow's space-weapons arsenal thus can be seen to be an impressive and really frightening one. It is a real threat that cannot be wished or whitewashed away.
Furthermore, comparisons cannot fairly be made between any system that the US government plans to have four or five years from now and the systems that the Soviet military already has on line. Few observers doubt that the Soviets are already working on even more effective and efficient space weapons, flight testing of which will only become visible in the coming years. To say that it is "provocative" for the United States to be developing a future system to match capabilities that the Soviets have already had for more than a decade is a deliberately deceptive argument.
But the phony declarations of innocence and howls of protest from Moscow, and their echoes around the world, continue. Writing in Moscow's Economic Gazette late last year, legal specialist I. Isachenko ranted: "Openly defying international law, the United States has set up an entire complex of military space systems for reconnaissance, communications and control, navigation and meteorology and topographical support.…The US adventurist policy conflicts with the consistent policy of the Soviet state with respect to using space exclusively for peaceful purposes." Isachenko's accusations are gratuitous. The Soviet Union does all of those same applications, too, and none of them is in any way illegal by any conventional interpretation of international law.
What only the Soviets have done (although not violating any treaties, either) is to put test weapons aboard "space objects" in orbit around Earth, several dozen times in the past 16 years. This is something that the United States has never done, is not even now preparing to do, and probably could not do for years even if congressional approval (preceded by a long national debate) were given.
Cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov, speaking at the launching of a trio of Soviet space pilots last April, pontificated: "Space must never be allowed to be used for deploying weapons. This position meets the aspirations of all the peace-loving forces of the planet. In sharp contrast to this background are the efforts by the current US administration for the forced militarization of space."
Other cosmonauts have obediently taken up the refrain. Georgiy Grechko told a Soviet television audience on August 20: "We know that sights for laser weapons have already been tested on the first shuttle craft—and there are plans to deploy antisatellite systems in space." Grechko was incorrect on all counts, but he scored points by appealing to the United States "as a cosmonaut and as a father" not to darken the skies with space weapons.
Writing in the Soviet Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, Col. M. Rebrov referred to the "madman's delusions of the Pentagon maniacs": "Military bases above the human planet, bunkers among the lunar craters, powerful laser guns aimed at Earth, satellites colliding in orbit, blinding flashes, lethal particle beams, the destruction of all living things.…This is an everyday matter in the Pentagon's militarist preparations." Continuing with the standard attacks on the US space shuttle, Rebrov wrote: "In connection with the first flights by Columbia and Challenger, the Pentagon is already elaborating the most delirious and inhuman plans, a fever of mad ideas.…The task of preventing an arms race in space is becoming more and more acute, to halt the unbridled maniacs of space war."
Why this continued Soviet propaganda effort? The motive became clearer in the aftermath of Andropov's pledge to the visiting US senators. At the end of August the Soviets presented to the United Nations yet another "antisatellite weapons" treaty—actually an anti-space-weapons treaty. Unlike their 1981 proposal, which covered only weapons deployed in space, the new treaty would, among other things, prohibit manned spacecraft from being used for military activities of any kind. This provision seems clearly aimed at preventing the use of the space shuttle for any military purposes. Yet among the shuttle's planned uses are the launching and recovery of most of the next generation of satellites for reconnaissance, early warning, and command, control, and communications. In addition, the shuttle will reportedly be essential for in-orbit testing of prototype hardware for any future space-based antiballistic missile (ABM) system.
Furthermore, if a near-term ABM system, such as the High Frontier project publicized last year, were ordered into production, the shuttle or shuttle-derived vehicles could well be the most feasible way of launching its components into orbit. Indeed, the High Frontier project's book and movie both feature illustrations of the shuttle as the launch vehicle for that system's proposed first-generation space-based ABM satellites. The Soviets may have decided to go all-out to prevent US development of such a system. If so, stirring up hysteria over ASATs could be a convenient means to that end. If the United States can be stampeded into signing Andropov's proposed "ASAT treaty," it will have unambiguously signed away the legal right to develop space-based ABMs using new technologies not expressly forbidden by the 1972 ABM treaty.
Moreover, the practical effect of such a treaty could well be to disarm the United States in this area, leaving it helpless against a Soviet ASAT attack. That's because there is no way (short of full-time, unlimited, on-site inspection in the USSR) that Soviet compliance could be verified. The Soviet killer-satellite warheads can be concealed and ready for launch within hours at numerous locations throughout the USSR. The present launch vehicle, the SS-9, is a standard Soviet ICBM booster, essentially no different from SS-9s used to launch other types of satellites. Any number of killer-satellites and booster rockets could be kept on hand, in secret, ready for launch in any international crisis.
Finally, by manufacturing a phony "American space threat," aided by a chorus of voices in the West, Moscow will have laid the groundwork for justifying its own new space weapons whenever they are officially unveiled—as a "response" to American "provocation." Some American commentators have already provided Andropov with exactly this kind of blank check. As Tom Wicker has put it, development of the US ASAT missile "will only force Moscow to spend the billions necessary to match [sic] the US weapons."
Thus, the Soviets have much to gain and nothing to lose with their campaign for "peace in space." If they succeed in halting US work on ASATs, they can preserve their existing unilateral advantage. And if they succeed in using the anti-ASAT hysteria to achieve a ban on all military activity in space (read: all US military activity in space), they will have blocked what many observers are convinced is the most promising strategic possibility of the nuclear age—space-based defenses against nuclear attack instead of the threat of being able to inflict equal destruction in the event of an attack. And even if their peace-in-space campaign "fails," the Soviets will probably have succeeded in convincing world opinion—including, in particular, many US news commentators, members of Congress, and prominent scientists—that their next generation of space weapons was made necessary only by the US "maniacs of space war."
Last year, a commentator on Radio Moscow made an unintentionally ironic challenge that in fact poses an entirely valid question. "Can one sincerely seek arms reduction on Earth," demanded Igor Dmitriyev, "and simultaneously conduct military experiments in outer space?" It's an excellent question, but thanks to Moscow's facile propagandists and their Western allies, the question is being asked of the wrong side.
James Oberg works on the space shuttle project in Houston. He is the author of Red Star in Orbit, UFOs and Space Mysteries, and other books and articles. The opinions expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect any official policy.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union have been testing antisatellite weapons for many years. And both have possessed what military analysts consider operational ASAT capabilities at various times.
The first successful US test took place back in 1959: a Bold Orion missile launched from a B-47 bomber successfully intercepted the Explorer 6 spacecraft as it passed over Cape Canaveral. Between 1963 and 1966, Project Mudflap involved a series of launches of Nike Zeus missiles from Kwajalein Island in the Pacific. A follow-up effort, Project 437 Thor, used Thor boosters, of which 16 were launched against satellite targets between 1964 and 1970. According to Aviation Week, the Thor system was considered an operational antisatellite capability until 1975. Both the Nike Zeus and Thor systems were designed to use nuclear warheads, but all the tests utilized dummy warheads.
The Soviets began testing antiballistic missiles (ABMs) in the early 1960s and almost certainly tested this system as an ASAT weapon during that time. Khrushchev publicly boasted of the ability of Soviet interceptor rockets to "hit a fly in outer space." Their ABM system remains operational.
The Soviets launched their first killer-satellite in 1968 and are considered to have achieved an operational ASAT capability with this system by 1971. They have continued regular launches since then, testing improved kill mechanisms and an infrared guidance system. The Pentagon claims that the Soviets are nearing the point of first launch of a second-generation ASAT using a laser as the kill mechanism.
—Robert Poole, Jr.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Andropov's Orbiting Bombs".