Created By: BlackDragon on May 15, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on January 24, 2016

Satellite Buster

A character or weapon is powerful enough to shoot down a satellite... manmade or otherwise.

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Trope
Simple trope: To show how powerful a character (or his BFG) is, you have him shoot down a satellite. Keeping in mind that astronomically speaking, a 'satellite' is just something that's in orbit, including the big things made out of rock that were there in the first place. So the high-order cases of this results in a Moon Shattering Kaboom, or at least a visible impact on it. Expect the geological side-effects of destroying a planet's moon to be utterly ignored in those cases.

Also a popular way to get rid of a pesky Kill Sat when it's becoming inconvenient to the plot.

Related to Detonation Moon. This trope covers any weapon/person who can destroy satellites (manmade or otherwise), who later does or does not do so, while Detonation Moon covers the destroyed moon itself.


Examples:

Advertising
  • A commercial for 7-Up had spokesman Orlando Jones try to etch the 7-Up logo on the moon with a laser. It blows it up instead.
    All right, who's been messin' with my laser?

Anime and Manga
  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index, early on a 'Weather Satellite' in geosynchronous orbit above Academy City (actually the main brain of the Academy's Master AI) gets shot down when Index goes Brainwashed and Crazy and unleashes an uber-powerful spell. In this case, it's less to illustrate HER power, than to show off Touma's Power Nullifier, what with him blocking her Kamehamehadoken for several minutes before she's tripped and sends the beam straight upwards...
  • In the original Dragon Ball, Master Roshi destroys the moon in one of the first episodes to stop Ozaru Goku, similarly to the Gohan/Piccolo example.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo destroys the moon with a Lightning Screw/Special Beam Cannon when Gohan goes into Giant Monkey Mode due to its light.
  • In Trigun, Vash at one point puts a very large, very visible crater in the moon when his power goes out of control, forcing him to point it upwards to avoid accidentally wiping a few cities off the map. It's mainly there to show us just how much power Vash is generally restraining himself from using...
  • s-CRY-ed at one point has Kazuma and Ryuhou jump into the lower atmosphere to attack the HOLY EYE, a combination Spy Satellite / Kill Sat. It was very impressive. Too bad it was exactly what the villain wanted...
  • One of the first things we hear about Ayako from Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo! is that she once shot down a secret US spy satellite at the behest of the Japanese government. We never get solid confirmation that it was more than a rumor, but considering the powers she display in the series, it seems likely that it would be within her reach.
  • In the dramatic conclusion of Gundam Wing, Heero Yuy must shoot down a piece of the Libra space station that has been dropped toward Earth.
  • The famous scene in AKIRA where Tetsuo flies into space and punches out a satellite.

Comic Books
  • A few times in The Incredible Hulk Hulk has been shot into space to punch out a satellite or asteroid. The most recent time it was just a ploy by The Illuminati to get hm out into space so they could rocket him off to some other planet. Thus began Planet Hulk.

Film - Animated
  • In Over the Hedge, the Depelter Turbo, when activated, emits a beam of light so intense it destroys a passing satellite.

Film - Live Action

Literature
  • In The Dresden Files, Ebenezar McCoy brings down an old Soviet satellite from orbit on top of one of his more powerful enemies.
  • Keith Laumer's Bolo series. With its Hellbore main weapon, a main battle Bolo is fully capable of engaging and destroying fleets or orbiting starships.

Live-Action TV
  • Referred to but not actually used in the classic Doctor Who episode ''Robot'', when The Doctor is asked about the range and power of a disintegrator ray, he says that "it could bore a hole in the surface of The Moon".

Video Games
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, REX's railgun is powerful enough to shoot down JD, which is in orbit disguised as a communications satellite.
  • In Megaman X5, the Enigma laser is said to be powerful enough to destroy the Eurasia colony which threatens to impact Earth. It usually fails.

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • May 15, 2012
    TonyG
    In Over The Hedge, the Depelter Turbo, when activated, emits a beam of light so intense it destroys a passing satellite.
  • May 15, 2012
    Bisected8
    • In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart (apparently crazy from an experimental medication) hijacks a tank and aims at several things, before finally taking careful aim at the sky and shooting down a satellite (which was apparently spying on them as he suspected).
  • June 24, 2012
    BlackDragon
    • One of the first things we hear about Ayako from Mamoru Kun Ni Megami Ni Shukufuku O is that she once shot down a secret US spy satellite at the behest of the japanese government. We never get solid confirmation that it was more than a rumor, but considering the powers she display in the series, it seems likely that it would be within her reach.
  • June 24, 2012
    Arutema
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4, REX's railgun is powerful enough to shoot down JD, which is in orbit disguised as a communications satellite.
  • June 24, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    In the dramatic conclusion of Gundam Wing, Heero Yuy must shoot down a piece of the Libra space station that has been dropped toward Earth.
  • June 24, 2012
    Arutema
    • In Megaman X5, the Enigma laser is said to be powerful enough to destroy the Eurasia colony which threatens to impact Earth. It usually fails.
  • June 25, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • The famous scene in Akira where Tetsuo flies into space and punches out a satellite.
  • June 25, 2012
    morenohijazo
    In the original Dragon Ball, Master Roshi destroys the moon in one of the first episodes to stop Ozaru Goku, similarly to the Gohan/Piccolo example.
  • June 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    A few times in The Incredible Hulk Hulk has been shot into space to punch out a satellite or asteroid. The most recent time it was just a ploy by The Illuminati to get hm out into space so they could rocket him off to some other planet. Thus began Planet Hulk.
  • June 25, 2012
    TonyG
  • September 2, 2012
    Koveras
    So is this only about ground-based anti-satellite weaponry or also space-based ones?

    • In The Dresden Files, Ebenezar McCoy brings down an old Soviet satellite from orbit on top of one of his more powerful enemies.
  • September 30, 2012
    morenohijazo
    ^ I don't think it matters, unless Black Dragon objects.
  • July 2, 2013
    StarSword
    What about surface-to-orbit weapons emplacements like this thing? Right now it's classified under Anti Air.
  • July 2, 2013
    StarSword
    Also, under film:

  • July 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Related to Detonation Moon.
  • July 5, 2013
    morenohijazo
    ^ I would say it's the same trope, only without covering artificial satellites.
  • July 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I would say that this trope covers any weapon/person who can destroy satellites (manmade or otherwise), who later does or does not do so, while Detonation Moon covers the destroyed moon itself.

    Just for clarity...
  • July 6, 2013
    Melkior
    I'm not sure if this qualifies as an example but here it is just in case:

    Live-Action TV:
    • Referred to but not actually used in the classic Doctor Who episode, Robot, when The Doctor is asked about the range and power of a disintegrator ray, he says that "it could bore a hole in the surface of The Moon".
  • July 9, 2013
    dalek955
    • A main battle Bolo, with its Hellbore main weapon, is fully capable of engaging and destroying fleets or orbiting starships.
  • July 10, 2013
    StarSword
    These and others are currently filed under Anti Air.

    Film:
    • The Star Wars franchise features various types of surface-to-orbit weaponry. In The Empire Strikes Back the Rebels clear a path for their evacuation fleet by attacking Star Destroyers with a planetary ion cannon. The EU adds the planetary turbolaser, capable of one-shotting an ISD, and the hypervelocity gun, a comparatively rare kinetic weapon.
  • July 11, 2013
    dalek955
    • In Fox Trot, several of Jason and Marcus's model rockets have taken out satellites, as well as one popped champagne cork from a bottle the kids had shaken up.
  • July 11, 2013
    KZN02
    Contrast Colony Drop?
  • July 11, 2013
    StarSword
    ^More to the point, the inverse of Orbital Bombardment (supertrope to Colony Drop and Kill Sat).
  • January 23, 2016
    DAN004
    Blaz Blue: Makoto Nanaya's Astral Heat involves her punching her foe to the moon, which then subsequently shatters.
  • January 23, 2016
    Gatomon41
    Literature Example:

    • In Falkenberg's Legions, the titular mercenaries employ anti-low orbital satellite rockets. When the rockets reach the right altitude, they blast a cloud of steel cubes right in the target's path. At the speeds the satellite is going, even a few cubes are going to make it into Swiss cheese.

    For the Bolo entry already mentioned, later Marks are armed with Hellrails. It can allow a Bolo on Earth's surface to hit targets on the Moon.

  • January 24, 2016
    Arivne
  • January 24, 2016
    Chabal2
    One of the final rokkit launchas available to the orks in Dawn Of War: Retribution is called the Krooza Krumpa, and stated to be able to take down a Krooza in orbit. Only problem is you still have to deal with the orks still onboard said krooza and are likely to be less than thrilled.
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