Spy Satellite’s Downing Shows a New U.S. Weapon Capability Feature Summary

Physics in Your World
US Satellite Shoot-down
This photo shows the U.S. Navy SM-3 missile, the type that shot down a U.S. spy satellite on 20 February 2008.  Click on the world map, courtesy of the Washington Post, to see the track of this satellite's debris after it was hit--to learn more, see Spy Satellite's Downing Shows a New U.S. Weapon Capability.  The SM-3 struck the satellite at an altitude of 240 km (150 mi); for comparison, earlier this year China shot down its own weather satellite at an altitude of 870 km (540 mi). From Physics Research for 1 March 2008 shows the debris field from the Chinese satellite.

(This feature was revised on 15 March 2008.)
image credit: U.S. Navy; <a href="http://www.physicstogo.com/images/features/SM-3-large3-11-08.jpg" target="_blank">larger image</a>
image credit: U.S. Navy; larger image
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March 1, 2008 - March 16, 2008