Video: Navy gives rogue satellite the full Death Star treatment

They needed steady seas, had a time window of only a few seconds to shoot, and were aiming at something no bigger than a bus, and they still got it. Man, did they ever:

[Marine Gen. James Cartwright] estimated there was an 80-90 percent chance that the missile struck the most important target on the satellite — its fuel tank, containing 1,000 pounds of hydrazine, which Pentagon officials say could have posed a health hazard to humans if it had landed in a populated area…

The size of the debris is smaller than the Pentagon had forecast and most of the satellite’s intelligence value was likely destroyed, Cartwright said. Though the Pentagon has played down that aspect of the shootdown, analysts had said one of the reasons for the operation was that officials worried that without it, larger chunks of the satellite could fall and be recovered, opening the possibility of secret technology falling into the hands of the Chinese or others.

“Football-sized chunks,” quoth the AFP. Goldfarb sees it as a de facto ad for missile defense. If shooting down an ICBM is like hitting a bullet with a bullet, this is like hitting a wafting tennis ball with a bullet: Not quite as impressive, but darned sweet.

Check out the awesomely awesome high-rez photos here, then click the image to watch.


Update: Cuffy Meigs knows his missile defense.