Zap! Then a Flap: A satellite shooter scores a hit

A satellite shooter scores a hit

An F-15 jet fighter raced off a runway at California's Edwards Air Force Base last Friday, soared to 35,000 ft., then launched an 18-ft.-long, two- stage rocket. At the same time, some 320 miles above the Pacific, an inoperative six-year-old satellite hurtled along at 17,000 m.p.h. A 35-lb. instrument package, no larger than a gallon can, separated from the rocket. Guided by infrared sensors that could detect the warmth of the satellite and powered by 64 tiny jet rockets, the cylinder closed in on its target. Zap! The two bodies collided at a combined speed of almost 27,000 m.p.h. The satellite...

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