It’s a Hit: Navy Hits Spy Satellite on first try; China whines

Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor write:

A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.

Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a senior defense official close to the mission said Thursday that it appears the tank was destroyed, and the strike with a specially designed missile was a complete success.

China is nervous.

Within hours of the reported success, China said it was on the alert for possible harmful fallout from the shootdown and urged Washington to promptly release data on the action.”China is continuously following closely the possible harm caused by the U.S. action to outer space security and relevant countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at news conference in Beijing. “China requests the U.S. to fulfill its international obligations in real earnest and provide to the international community necessary information and relevant data in a timely and prompt way so that relevant countries can take precautions.”

Could China be projecting its motives in the January 11 shoot-down of a Chinese satellite (which the US protested) on the US? Or is it simply tit-for-tat political gamesmanship?

pix here.

h/t: Wired [1, 2]

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