The world of clandestine espionage between nations is one that is hidden, almost by mutual consent among nations, from the public eye. But at one time or another, something is revealed from that world – this piece of a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile would be one of them. The missile fragment, part of the one used by China to shoot down its own satellite – was sent to Barnard Castle antiques dealer David Harper from a Japanese client and could well fetch nearly 400,000 US dollars when auctioned.
The fragment’s history will not be commented on officially by the Chinese government, but it is part a medium range ICBM rocket fired by China in 2007 to shoot down a low orbit satellite over Japan – one of the few successful times this was attempted. The rocket fragment, 130cm long and weighs 3.690kg, will be up for auction this month in London. The fragment was salvaged off the northeastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan in May 2011. The rocket, described by US military as “the world’s fastest bullet,” was travelling at 76,000 km per hour it did its job efficiently, downing the weather satellite, which was in low orbit over Japan at the time, at with an impact speed of 100,000 km per hour. If anyone fancies pocketing this bit of history, Harper says that it could possibly cost them a quarter of a million pounds.
“It’s possibly one of the rarest objects in the world and is part of a Chinese rocket that shot down a satellite,” Harper said. “What’s it worth? No one truly knows but it could be around a quarter of a million pounds,” he added. At the time when the satellite was shot down, Japan was accusing China of using the satellite to spy on the Japanese archipelago. It was the first known satellite intercept test for more than 20 years – the ones before were tried by the now defunct USSR. The missile fragment, considered as a valuable part of modern history, will be sold by Phillip Knapper of The London Auction Rooms and is scheduled to be auctioned off on June 27.
[via Teesdale Mercury]