Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Satellite Shootdown: Navy Scores Hit With Aegis Class Missile
Despite predicted bad weather and high seas, the U.S. Navy last night scored a direct hit on a rogue spy satellite. Using a modified SM-3 missile like the one pictured above, Navy rocketeers, directed by Defense Department head Robert Gates, targeted USA-193 in the first-of-its kind missile shootdown of an orbiting spacecraft.
The USS Lake Erie was tapped as the first in a fleet of three to fire a missile. The first shot from the Erie was successful.
The SM-3, modified from Aegis ballistic missile defense weaponry, achieved the task of breaking up the doomed satellite. Officials had feared that an anticipated March crash somewhere on Earth would dump some amount of dangerous hydrazine.
Speculation is that the shootdown also had two other purposes, One reported goal was to prevent advanced American technology from being captured by China, whose long-term spy network recently took a hit from US investigators.
The hit also conclusively demonstrated U.S. capability to intercept and shoot down various types of potentially-threatening spacecraft and/or missiles, The Navy also recently successfully tested a new electromagnetic railgun.
NASA hustled Space Shuttle Atlantis and its crew home early this morning to clear space for the satellite shootdown.
Note: we were about 40 minutes ahead of CNN and other MSM in reporting this success.Thanks to those who wrote with congratulations.
Photos courtesy DOD/U.S. Navy