Feeds

Pentagon says sat-smash smithereen cloud almost gone

Orbital turkey blitz 'added value', seemingly

The Power of One Infographic

An American admiral says that all significant orbital debris from the recent missiling of a duff spy satellite by US warships has now burnt up.

Reuters reports that Rear Admiral Alan Hicks, head of the ship-mounted element of the US ballistic-missile defence programme, made the remarks at a conference in Washington.

"There's very little left up there of any size," said Hicks. "We're down to where there are very very small particles that will burn off as they come down in the atmosphere."

The admiral said the Pentagon was not aware of any part of the crippled surveillance spacecraft coming down intact. The intercept shot was performed by using an SM-3 missile to lob a "kill vehicle" into the path of the satellite as it hurtled above the Pacific.

At an orbital speed of several miles per second, the tumbling sat was smashed to pieces by the impact. It seems that even the missile defence people were surprised at how thorough the pulverisation was.

"We thought there would be much larger pieces," said Hicks.

The SM-3 was designed to knock out ballistic missile warheads, and the admiral said that this would remain its purpose. The US has repeatedly said that it has no current ambitions towards a capability for attacking spacecraft.

Speaking of the intercept mission, in which US government resources from many departments were used to achieve the rendezvous of satellite and kill warhead, the admiral said:

"When you bring them together ... you can get a lot more value."

The cost of the satellite remains a secret, as does the precise nature of its mission and payload. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.