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Old 02-21-2008, 02:13 AM   #12
Tarkus
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Navy missile hits dying spy satellite

‘It looks like the tank was hit,’ official tells NBC News

WASHINGTON - A missile launched from a Navy ship successfully struck a dying U.S. spy satellite passing 130 miles over the Pacific on Wednesday, a defense official said.

The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles — not orbiting satellites — launched the attack at 10:26 p.m. ET (0326 GMT Thursday), according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite as the spacecraft traveled at more than 17,000 mph (27,000 kilometers per hour).

Because the satellite was orbiting at a relatively low altitude at the time it was hit by the missile, debris will begin to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere immediately, the Pentagon statement said.

"Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days," it said.

The use of the Navy missile amounted to an unprecedented use of components of the Pentagon's missile defense system, designed to shoot down hostile ballistic missiles in flight — not kill satellites.

The goal in this first-of-its-kind mission for the Navy was not just to hit the satellite but to obliterate a tank aboard the spacecraft carrying 1,000 pounds of a toxic fuel called hydrazine.

"It looks like the tank was hit," a U.S. official told NBC News. "It is still going to take some more analysis" to determine what happened to the fuel, but early indications were positive, the official said.

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Well, I guess we'll have to wait to see if what they say is true...
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