Dr. Schund, mine is a small deeply religious country wishing to spread God's love by destroying all profane competitors; money is no object.
Low Earth Orbit is 100 to 1240 miles altitude above most of the atmosphere and below the inner Van Allen radiation belt. Gas drag is important to 350 miles altitude (International Space Station Freedom FUBAR Space Hole One Alpha orbits at 173 to 286 miles altitude). Orbital speeds are near 5 miles/second for a 90 minute orbital period. Muzzle velocity of an M16 rifle is 0.606 miles/sec. The fastest rifle bullet is the 5 mm (.20 caliber) SMc at 0.909 miles/sec (30 grain, 1.9 gram molybdenum disulfide-plated Berger bullet from a 28 inch Pac-Nor barrel. Serious hurt is orbital rather than belched from a gun's muzzle.
Catastrophic fragmentation at 6 miles/sec impact occurs if mass ratio of projectile:target exceeds 1:1250. On 10 February 2009 16:55:59.81 UTC a 698 kg Iridium 33 satellite (Norad #24946) collided at 5.7 miles/sec relative with 900 kg Russian Kosmos 2251 Strela-2M military communication satellite (#22675; both in polar orbit) 490 miles altitude over northern Siberia with a node angle difference of 103.3 degrees. Sideswipe collision energy was about 3.5 tons of TNT. The Joint Functional Component Command for Space of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) tracked 194 Iridium fragments and 505 Kosmos fragments four days later.
As of 2009 the US lofted about 1070 satellites, Russia 1420, the rest of the world summed fewer than 600. Disappear them to end long distance communications and orbital telemetries including weather, national security, and GPS. God's virtuous and abstinent dominion of poverty, hunger, disease, filth, death, and silk-clad priests with whips will resurrect upon a level conventional weapons playing field. US military operations involving navigation or targeting are inert absent GPS.
Dr. Schund enjoys creating things with bricks of purple euros. God's will be done! The simple solution is Carborundum with Mohs hardness 9, density 3.22 g/cm3, specific heat 0.155 cal/gm-C, enthalpy of vaporization 64 cal/gm, and sublimation temperature 2700 C. Quarter-inch diameter commercial grit then weighs 0.432 grams each. Impact at 4 miles/second (polar orbit intersection) is 6600 ft-lbs compared to the M-16 rifle's .223 bullet with muzzle energy 1310 ft-lbs with about the same contact area.
Heating the 0.432 gram pellet to 2700 C requires 180 calories. Vaporizing it requires 28 calories more for a total of 208 calories. Impact energy at 4 miles/second is 2138 calories. Boom.
Project Bumwipe launches a five tonne payload of quarter-inch Carborundum grit, 11.6 million pellets, into polar orbit. The package is then exploded to release its payload in a spreading cloud, wiping the sky clean of polar and equatorial orbits.
Project Shitstorm sends a tonne of 0.25" diameter Carborundum grit (2.3 million pellets) around the moon, returned in counterorbit, and vectored. The package is then exploded to release the shitstorm, scrubbing the sky of satellites at relative 8 miles/second geosynchrous orbit scrub with impact energy of 26,000 ft-lbs/pellet. Low Earth orbit (and ISS FUBAR) has relative 10 miles/sec impact speed of 41,000 ft-lbs/pellet.
Cobalt-cemented tungsten carbide has density 17.5 g/cm3. That would be an ISS FUBAR Project Shitstorm scrub of 224,000 ft-lbs/pellet with 426,000 pellets/tonne. Tungsten carbide has Mohs hardness 8.5 and boils at 6000 C (10,800 F). The sun's surface radiates at 5500 C. Implementation is within the budget of most countries given third party booster service and a "near-moon sampling probe" to express national pride.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wholly habitable within five years of their atomic bombings. Fallout radioactivity decreases by a factor of ten for each factor of seven in time. If initial radiation is an absurd lethal dose/minute (about 400 rem), one year later it is five million times smaller, a lethal dose/9.5 years. Five years later it is a lethal dose/57 years if sustained rather than further decayed. Project Shitstorm would persist for decades in low Earth orbit, for centuries in geosynchronous orbit.
What could First World nation state crimps do if shanghaied skies were returned to their rightful owners in a virtuous spasm of compassion, diversity, and orbital abrasive pellets? Nothing. Any attempt to snare remaining pellets is silly. They are invisible to radar. They are ridiculously dilute. Any attempt to intercept them fragments the catcher, exacerbating the problem. (One hopes Congress does not get all hot and bothered! An advocate makes virtue of failure. The worse the cure the better the treatment, and the more that is required.)
When a body-armored land warrior multitasking Army of One puzzles over a super-twist nematic full color high resolution stereoptic liquid crystal display... and gets her head bashed in by an illiterate native with a wooden club... who has the better weapon?
To return to Uncle Al Outrage Central, click here