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Sandbox / Satellite Buster

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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. The opposite of Orbital Bombardment, where a satellite weapon is used to strike things on the surface, and Colony Drop, when a satellite is sent to collide with the surface. Compare Anti-Air, for weapons to deal with things up in the air but still within the atmosphere.



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  • 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 
  • The famous scene in AKIRA where Tetsuo flies into space and punches out a satellite.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 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...

    Comic Books 
  • In FoxTrot, 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.
  • In the opening of Harbinger Wars 2, Livewire uses her technopathic abilities to bring down every satellite in Earth's orbit, in retaliation for the US government's attacks on psiots.
  • 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 him out into space so they could rocket him off to some other planet. Thus began Planet Hulk.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live Action 

  • 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.
  • In The Dresden Files, Ebenezar McCoy brings down an old Soviet satellite from orbit on top of one of his more powerful enemies.
  • 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.
  • In Hammer's Slammers the powerguns on the Slammers' Hover Tanks have enough range to take down satellites, when the computer's aiming at least.
  • The Stone Sky: An ancient Amplifier Artifact from The Beforetimes is powerful enough to have drilled a hole through the Moon and knocked it out of orbit accidentally, when the Tuners struggled to redirect its power after the Evil Earth itself tried to commandeer it to wipe out all human life.

    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".
  • In one episode of Eureka, Douglas Fargo accidentally activates a Cold War superweapon while cleaning out his new office. After all attempts to shut it down have failed, Sheriff Jack Carter rams it with his car to divert its aim away from a mirror on the Moon that will reflect it at a target on Earth - it misses the mirror, but destroys a probe approaching Jupiter.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat, the course of the entire history of Strangereal was shaped by the impending threat of the Ulysses 1994X meteor. Erusea's answer to combat what would've been complete destruction of their country was the construction of Stonehenge, a Superweapon consisting of an array of massive cannons capable of shooting the asteroid from space. It worked just as planned, shot down the larger fragments, and mostly minimized damage to the Usean continent. The same cannot be said of the country of Estovakia on the western hemisphere of the planet, who took the brunt of the impacts from the now smaller remaining fragments that Stonehenge partially created.
  • BlazBlue: Makoto Nanaya's Astral Heat involves her punching her foe to the moon, which then subsequently shatters.
  • Capcom Fighting Evolution: Akuma's ending involves him powering himself up and then Shoryuken-ing a falling meteor, destroying it.
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Dr. Brio claims that he has built a giant laser cannon that's powerful enough to blow Cortex's space station, but he wants Crash to collect the gems to power it up. In the 100% ending, Brio ends up blowing the space station with it.
  • 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.
  • An accidental version in Empire Earth, where Partisans (available in the Industrial and World War One eras) are able to shoot at planes, which is excusable since these are the earliest military aircraft. However, Partisans can still do this against any aircraft from future eras, including satellites.
  • In Mega Man X5, the Enigma laser is said to be powerful enough to destroy the Eurasia colony which threatens to impact Earth. It usually fails. If the Enigma cannons fail, the heroes resort to using a space shuttle for a collision course with the falling colony. This one has a higher chance of success.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, REX's railgun is powerful enough to shoot down JD, which is in orbit disguised as a communications satellite.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Soviet "Spiral" program was a prototype Space Fighter designed to be launched from larger aircraft into orbit, engage in maneuvering combat against enemy satellites, and land back on Earth within an hour or two. It has never been completed due to the political shifts of the late 80s, though, with only a few non-functional prototypes left in museums.

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