Sean Beaudoin

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NAVY HITS SPY SATTELITE WITH MISSLE
AP WASHINGTON (Feb. 21) -- Debris from an obliterated U.S. spy satellite is being tracked over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans but appears to be too small to cause damage on Earth, a senior military officer said Thursday, just hours after a Navy missile scored a direct hit on the failing spacecraft

An SM-3 missile blasts off Wednesday from the USS Lake Erie for a disabled U.S. spy satellite about 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Military officials said the missile apparently succeeded at destroying the fuel tank of the satellite, which was expected to crash to Earth.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an expert on military space technologies, told a Pentagon news conference that officials have a "high degree of confidence" that the missile launched from a Navy cruiser Wednesday night hit exactly where intended.
It was an unprecedented mission for the Navy, so extraordinary that the final go-ahead to launch the missile Wednesday was reserved for Defense Secretary Robert Gates rather than a military commander. Cartwright estimated there was an 80 percent to 90 percent chance that the missile struck the most important target on the satellite - its fuel tank, containing 1,000 pounds of hydrazine, which Pentagon officials say could have posed a health hazard to humans if it had landed in a populated area.
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