Tuesday, February 26, 2008

U.S. missile defense system hits dying satellite.

A Navy missile soaring 130 miles above the Pacific smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday and destroyed a tank carrying 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel, officials said. Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the satellite, which was the size of a school bus. But they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more problematic fuel tank, whose contents posed what Bush administration officials deemed a potential health hazard to humans if it landed intact. The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles - not orbiting satellites - launched the attack a 9:26 p.m. CST, according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite about three minutes later as the spacecraft traveled in polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph. By Robert Burns, AP military writer.

It's the SDI which detractors nicknamed "Star Wars". President Reagan announced on March 23, 1983 a new national missile defense program formally called the Strategic Defense Initiative. The goal was not just to protect the U.S. and its allies, but to also provide the completed system to the USSR, thus ending the threat of nuclear war. A partisan debate ensued in Congress, with Democrats questioning the feasibility and strategic wisdom of such a program. They opposed missile defense because it could mean junking the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty. The Republicans talked about its strategic necessity, promising to protect America. The national missile defense program largely collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Well what happened to the program? Under the first President Bush Congress didn't allocate funding for the program. Under President Clinton some testing continued but the project was not given much funding. Than on December 16, 2002 President George W Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive 23 which outlined a plan to begin deployment of operational ballistic missile defense systems by 2004.

Now the world knows our defense system works and that Americans should feel safer knowing that we can stop an incoming nuclear missile. Not only did that SM-3 missile hit the satellite, which was traveling at 17,000 mph, it was 130 miles above the earth in outer space. That's Star Wars baby.

Technorati Tags:

No comments:

Post a Comment