Feb 21, 2008

US Missile Strikes Spy Satellite

A missile interceptor launched from a US Navy warship has struck a dying American spy satellite orbiting 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean. The Pentagon announced this news on late Wednesday. Though early information indicates that the interceptor hit the satellite, it would take 24 hours to determine whether the fuel tank with 1,000 pounds of toxic hydrazine had been destroyed as planned.

The Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement. This is for the first time, an interceptor designed for missile defense was used to attack a satellite.

Although the satellite circles the earth every 90 minutes, analysts pinpointed a single overhead pass each day that would offer the best chance of striking the satellite and then having half of the debris fall into the atmosphere in the next three orbits over water or less-populated areas of the Earth. Link


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