USA 193

Six days after USA 193 s destruction, Defense Secretary Robert M. They said that if the hydrazine tank fell to Earth it could spread a toxic cloud roughly the size of two football fields . On February 21, 03:26 GMT an SM-3 missile was fired from the Ticonderoga class missile cruiser USS Lake Erie, and intercepted USA 193 about 133 nautical miles (247 kilometers) U.S.

officials denied that the action was intended to prevent sensitive technology falling into foreign hands, Although the U.S. Cartwright (left), and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England follow the progress of the Standard Missile-3. Missile launches off the USS Lake Erie. SM-3 before launching to destroy the NRO-L 21 satellite. Closeup of SM-3 before launching to destroy the NRO-L 21 satellite. View of the vertical launching system on a Ticonderoga-class cruiser. Launch of the SM-3 missile that intercepted USA-193. .

The stated hazard area is about 2 hectares, something like 1/10,000,000,000 of the area under the orbit. had objected to the earlier Chinese test of an anti-satellite (or ASAT) weapon, U.S.

officials said there was no parallel with that test. USA 193, also known as NRO launch 21 (NROL-21 or simply L-21), was an American military spy satellite launched on December 14, 2006.

officials indicated a U.S. The Chinese test destroyed a target in a high, stable orbit, leaving a large amount of space debris in orbit, while the destruction of USA 193 in a much lower orbit would create debris that would likely deorbit within weeks. The Russian government claims that this exercise was a test of the U.S.

Air Force general as saying that contingency plans were being made since intact pieces of the satellite might re-enter into the North American area . In respecting the Liability Convention, the United States vowed to pay for any damage or destruction caused by their failed satellite. Planning for the destruction of USA 193 with a missile reportedly began on January 4, 2008, with President Bush approving the plan on February 12, On February 14, 2008, U.S. missile defense program. Other observers dismiss the threat of the hydrazine, suggesting that the effect of the cloud, when diluted over a large area, would likely be mild: The hydrazine tank is a 1-meter sphere containing about 400 liters of hydrazine.

officials announced the plan to destroy USA 193 before atmospheric reentry, stating that the intention was saving or reducing injury to human life . i.e.

missile defense program. spy satellite, later confirmed as USA 193, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports indicate that the satellite contained the hazardous materials hydrazine and beryllium.

No weapon existed in 1978 to bring down Cosmos 954, and a Soviet anti-satellite weapon, the first of its kind, was declared operational only ten days before Skylab re-entered the atmosphere, and was not capable of directing the space station s descent. Before the destruction of USA 193, Pentagon officials repeatedly denied that it was meant to bolster the U.S. plans for a missile-defense system are realistic though in the same statement it was confirmed that the weapons and systems used for this mission will not retain their ASAT capability, and will be reconfigured back to their original purpose as tactical missile. The launch of at least one other satellite was postponed to avoid space debris from USA 193.

was symbolically fined $400 for littering). The potential for actual harm is unbelievably small. Two examples of uncontrolled atmospheric re-entries causing (or almost causing) damage are the 1978 re-entry of Cosmos 954, a Soviet satellite, which landed in Canada and spread dangerous amounts of radioactive materials over large tracts of land, and Skylab s 1979 re-entry, which rattled windows and dropped small pieces of debris onto buildings in Esperance, Western Australia (no significant monetary damage resulted, but the U.S.

a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, the FEMA report indicates otherwise. On January 29, 2008 an Associated Press story quoted a U.S. Marine Gen.

Owned by the National Reconnaissance Office, the craft s precise function and purpose were classified. The satellite malfunctioned shortly after deployment, and was intentionally destroyed 14 months later on February 21, 2008, by a modified, $9.5 million SM-3 missile fired from the warship USS Lake Erie, stationed west of Hawaii. USA 193 was part of the NRO s Future Imagery Architecture, which was begun in 1997 to produce a fleet of inexpensive reconnaissance satellites, but has become the agency s most spectacular failure. USA 193 weighed about 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), The satellite entered orbit successfully but lost contact with the ground within hours. In late January 2008, reports from anonymous U.S. An Atlas V launch hot line recording indicated the debris would delay the launch of a different National Reconnaissance Office satellite (NRO L-28) as, a precautionary measure. Delta II launched carrying USA 193, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA, December 2006 Delta II leaving Vandenberg, December 2006 Fire Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Jackson launches the RIM-161 Standard missile 3 that destroyed USA 193, February 20, 2008 Missile launching from the USS Lake Erie, on February 20, 2008 Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S.

James E. Gates said, the mission s success shows that U.S.