DoD Succeeds In Intercepting Non-Functioning Satellite

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

earth's atmosphere.

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.)

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