Shooting Down a Satellite: All in the Timing, Discovery
"This week, as the military unveiled its unprecedented plan to shoot down an ailing spy satellite, an ammonia tank once used aboard the International Space Station plummeted to Earth. So did the second stage of a Delta rocket that put an Italian radar imager into orbit in December. By week's end, part of a Russian Molniya rocket that left Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 1996 should dive into the atmosphere as well."
"Asked if the modified SM-3 will be viewed by some foreign states as an ASAT weapon, Mr. Jeffries said that whatever other nations might think, "the truth" is that the missile strike is meant to prevent the hyrdazine tank from landing in a populated area."
"The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale "comedic gold."
"U.S. officials said on Thursday that President George W. Bush had decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) satellite with a modified tactical missile after security advisers suggested its re-entry could lead to a loss of life."