Out of Space

February 15, 2008

Dear Members and Friends,

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, announced that the Aegis Sea-Based Missile Defense system will be used to intercept a falling U.S. satellite containing toxic rocket fuel in order to reduce the risk of harm to human life as well as to manmade platforms in space, in the air and on earth.

The capability, the adaptability, the investment and the proven technology of our country’s missile defense systems has given our nation and our military an option which it never had before to protect human life globally from falling objects from space.

The current threat of a 5,000 pound National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite carrying over 1,000 pounds of Hydrazine gas tumbling down through the atmosphere could be negated by the use of any of the current missile defense systems. All of the deployed missile defense systems, with the exception of Patriot, have successfully intercepted fast moving small objects in space. Since the United States’ decision to deploy missile defense in December of 2002, there have been 16 successful intercepts in space by three different missile defense systems.

The deployed U.S. Aegis ships, equipped with missile defense capability, offer self contained tracking and discrimination and hold numerous Standard Missile-3s in their berths for multiple shots if required to add redundancy and further reduce the risk. This sea-based system has repeated successes destroying very fast warheads around six feet long and between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds in space. The most recent successes were by the Japanese Aegis Ship Kongo on December 17, 2007 and the United States Aegis cruiser Lake Erie (CG 70) on November 6, 2007.

In addition to reducing risk to human life globally, the potential kinetic energy intercept of a tumbling, uncontrolled NRO satellite by the Aegis ship’s Standard Missile-3 provides a real use military operational case that, in addition to reducing risk to human life, can enhance the current operational development of the SM-3 and its Aegis System. A typical Aegis Missile Defense test costs the Department of Defense around $40 million.

We endorse the flexible use of this remarkable capability and clearly see the return on investment of missile defense for the American taxpayer and Congress.

Our country’s investment and leadership internationally in Missile Defense provides global options that make our world a safer place.

We are a safer world with missile defense than without it.

Resource Library