WASHINGTON - The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed
to knock down incoming missiles—not orbiting satellites—launched the
attack at 10:26 p.m. EST, according to the Pentagon. It hit the
satellite as the spacecraft traveled at more than 17,000 mph.
Splash one satellite!!!
USS Lake Erie (CG 70) fired a single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and successfully impacted a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite approximately 247 kilometers (133 nautical miles) over the Pacific Ocean, as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph.Preliminary reports indicate the SM-3 missile struck its primary target, which was a tank full of toxic hydrazine rocket fuel carried aboard the 5,000-pound satellite, Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
"The intercept occurred. We're very confident that we hit the satellite," Cartwright said. "We also have a high degree of confidence that we got the tank."