As the Navy readies itself for the first satellite shoot-down, questions still linger as to its intent
By now you've probably heard the strange story of USA 193, the out-of-control military satellite slated to be shot out of the sky this evening. Amidst controversy over the safety and necessity of the mission, the U.S. Navy is planning to launch a $10-million missile from the USS Lake Erie somewhere west of Hawaii as early as 9:30pm EST and take the school-bus-sized sat down.
Launched in December 2006 by the ultra hush-hush National Reconnaissance Organization, the rogue satellite sported a powerful imaging sensor and a central computer that failed almost immediately. Its orbit began to decay, gradually and then suddenly. And when it became clear that the satellite would plummet to Earth this week, the government grew concerned that its 1,000 pounds of onboard fuel would survive the plunge and pose a health risk to anyone who came in contact with the hydrazine gas. That's their side, anyway—and their explanation for preparing three SM3 anti-ballistic missile interceptors to shoot the bugger down from an Aegis destroyer.