Thursday, February 21, 2008

Missile Defense Watch: US Shoots Down Failed Spy Satellite

The Pentagon Briefing and the first video of the missile strike of the satellite

The USS Lake Erie armed with an SM-3 missile successfully intercepted a failed United States spy satellite. However, it will be another 24-48 hours to know for sure that the tank containing hydrazine fuel had been destroyed.

The Pentagon said on Thursday it had "a high degree of confidence" that a Navy missile hit the toxic fuel tank of a disabled U.S. spy satellite, which posed a potential threat if it struck land on reentry.But Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters it could take another 24-48 hours to know for sure that the tank containing hydrazine fuel had been destroyed.An SM-3 missile fired from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii hit the errant satellite on Wednesday at 10:26 p.m. EST, 153 nautical miles above the Earth.
Here is a computer-generated video of satellite debris reentry:

Key graph:

Cartwright said there was nearly a 90 percent chance that the tank had been breached in the collision.

"We're very confident that we hit the satellite. We also have a high degree of confidence that we got the tank," Cartwright said at a Pentagon briefing.

"From our position, you always want to hedge your bet because there's no absolute certainty.

In the meantime, China is moaning and accusing the United States of hypocrisy for criticizing other countries' space amibitions while rejecting a treaty proposed by Russia and China. A treaty, by the way, that would be impossible to enforce, and with which Russia and China would use to cheat to gain a technological edge over the United States.

Stay tuned..........

The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph over the Pacific Ocean February 20, 2008 in this handout photo released by the U.S. Defense Department. A missile from a U.S. Navy warship hit a defunct U.S. spy satellite 133 nautical miles (247 km) above the Earth in an attempt to blow apart its tank of toxic fuel, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.


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The Missile Defense Archive


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