DoD Succeeds In Intercepting Non-Functioning Satellite
A network of land-, air-, sea- and spaced-based sensors confirms that
the U.S. military intercepted a non-functioning National Reconnaissance
Office satellite which was in its final orbits before entering the
At approximately 10:26 p.m. EST today, a U.S. Navy AEGIS warship, the
USS Lake Erie (CG-70), fired a single modified tactical Standard
Missile-3 (SM-3) hitting the satellite approximately 247 kilometers (133
nautical miles) over the Pacific Ocean as it traveled in space at more
than 17,000 mph. USS Decatur (DDG-73) and USS Russell (DDG-59) were also
part of the task force.
The objective was to rupture the fuel tank to dissipate the
approximately 1,000 pounds (453 kg) of hydrazine, a hazardous fuel which
could pose a danger to people on earth, before it entered into earth's
atmosphere. Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should
be available within 24 hours.
Due to the relatively low altitude of the satellite at the time of the
engagement, debris will begin to re-enter the earth's atmosphere
immediately. Nearly all of the debris will burn up on reentry within
24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days.
(DEFCON 1 comment: This was a very difficut target to hit, and thus
very impressive missile marksmenship. A vast team of experts determined
how the satellite could be engaged with the Aegis Ballistric Missile
Defense capability. At the end of the day, it was a Navy Sailor, a
second-class petty officer, who fired the missile.)