U.S. Navy To Shoot Down Satellite

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
February 18, 2008
Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN), 7:00 PM
LOU DOBBS: The U.S. Navy planning to shoot down a disabled satellite perhaps as soon as this Thursday. The government claims the shoot down is an effort to protect lives on the ground, not a demonstration of an anti-satellite weapon system, but the governments of Russia and China say they are not convinced. China is saying it is concerned. Russia saying it believes the test -- it is a test of the missile defense system. Jaime McIntyre has our report from Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Military sources tell CNN the U.S. Navy is planning to take its first and possibly only shot at knocking the unresponsive satellite into the Pacific Ocean Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Main gear touchdown.
MCINTYRE: One day after the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis is safely on the ground. But unlike China's destruction of an aging weather satellite last year, the Pentagon argues its shoot down attempt is all about protecting the earth from a potentially killer gas cloud if the satellite's full fuel tank survives reentry and not about flexing it's anti satellite or ASAT muscles.
GEN. JAMES CARTWRIGHT, JOINT CHIEFS VICE CHAIRMAN: I remember that we did that 20 years ago, there's really no need to go back to that data point.
MCINTYRE: The Joint Chiefs vice chairman is referring to 1985 when an F-15 climbed to 80,000 feet and fired a modified air to air missile destroying a U.S. satellite in space. Despite the success, the program was canceled and while the upcoming attempt is not a test, it's an honest to goodness attempt to counter a potential threat, it's also not a demonstration of America's ASAT abilities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not to prove that the U.S. can also do this. That was not part of your consideration?
JAMES JEFFREY, DEP. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: This is all about trying to reduce the danger to human beings. That was a decision that was taken.
MCINTYRE: For one thing the Navy's standard missile can hit only extremely low-flying space objects like an incoming warhead. The failing U.S. spy satellite is very low at the edge of the atmosphere, roughly 150 miles above the earth just about to fallout out of orbit. The Chinese satellite by comparison was in a much higher orbit, some 525 miles up, hundreds of miles beyond the range of sea launch missiles. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE: But if the U.S. can modify its anti-missiles once to shoot down satellites, can do it again? Well yes, but it would have to reconfigure the whole system, so it's not much use as a missile shield, so the Pentagon insists, Lou that this is quote, "a one-shot deal."