This is a discussion on A lot can happen in 50 years within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6937964.stm...
So, did Johnson's prediction come true?
All the buzzt!
"There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
- Flon's Law
The ability to knock out satellites, and disrupt what they send back, would be of great benefit to a nation at war. For this reason, I believe space will be a new battleground of sorts, fought in a very non-traditional sense. In some ways, it's the ultimate modern high ground at this point in time.
As we speak, I believe nations are planning weapons and counter-weapons that would either be deployed in space or used upon earth that would be used to affect what is happening in space. Consider the reports of China and their work on satellites (mainly destroying and disrupting).
I'm always up for a good history lesson. Sputnik's birthday is coming up!
> The ability to knock out satellites,
Only if someone was stupid enough to start a chain reaction which would knock everything out eventually.
Gotta love the caveman in space "oog oog, throw rock".
Junk is already accumulating at a much higher rate than natural processes remove it, so it really is just a matter of time before one bit of junk smashes a satellite into many fragments, which then go onto shatter further satellites (and larger junk into smaller junk).
China supposedly already blew up a satellite of theirs as a test. I would be more concerned with that than randomly flying rocks.