I believe you’ll find that our satellite-shooting-down system is fully operational.
At 10:29 p.m. last evening the Navy confirmed it hit a falling and potentially dangerous defense intelligence satellite using an SM-3 missile fired from the deck of the USS Lake Erie in the Northern Pacific.
Officials say the missile likely destroyed its intended target, a 1,000 pound tank of toxic hydrazine fuel.
There’s a pretty good reason the Navy can’t be any more precise than that. They bloew the satellite into about 80 different pieces, all of which are moving very quickly and none of which are very easy to see at all. Also, we don’t tend to put a big red label that says “Hydrazine Fuel Tank” of a size large enough that you could read it while in low orbit. But since the satellite exploded after the missile (which wasn’t carrying an explosive warhead) hit it, the Navy had good reason to say the tank full of volatile material is gone.
I do hope the Chinese were watching last night.
UPDATE: Here’s the Pentagon briefing with video.