Navy Missile Shoots Down Spy Satellite
A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.
Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a U.S. official told NBC News that it "looks like the tank was hit."
"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.