To Kill a Satellite

The warhead is hardly larger than a coffee can. But jammed inside the 12-in. by 13-in. cylinder are 64 tiny rockets, eight high-powered telescopes and a targeting device so sensitive that it can detect the warmth of a distant star.

This small gem of high-tech miniaturization represents the state of the art in satellite zapping. It is the antisatellite weapon (ASAT) that U.S. scientists have been trying to perfect for more than 25 years, ever since the Soviets launched Sputnik I in 1957 and set off a race to capture what Lyndon Johnson called the "high ground" of outer space.


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