NORAD and USNORTHCOM roles in satellite shoot-down
NORAD’s Trajectory and Impact Prediction mission not only assisted in monitoring the satellite before the successful launch of a modified SM-3 missile from U.S. Navy AEGIS warship, the USS Lake Erie (CG-70) at approximately 8:26 p.m. MST, and is currently tracking the debris field.
Current predictions are that most, if not all, of the debris will burn up on reentry as a result of the successful engagement.
NORAD is currently monitoring a debris field of hundreds of objects. Most of the pieces are extremely small and will likely not survive reentry.
NORAD continues to monitor the falling debris and will continually update both the governments of Canada and the United States, providing them the latest information.
The objective of the satellite intercept mission was to minimize the possibility of injury to humans from the hydrazine fuel tank enclosed in the satellite. The likelihood of debris falling on a populated area on the ground was remote, however, NORAD continues to monitor the debris field in order to predict the possibility of debris falling within North America.
The Pentagon confirmed yesterday (Feb. 25) that it was confident the fuel tank has been destroyed.
U.S. Northern Command also had a role, deploying a Commander’s Assessment Element (CAE) from Joint Task Force Civil Support to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., in the event that a hazardous materials mitigation capability was needed. JTF-CS, based out of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., plans and integrates DoD support to the designated Primary Agency for domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive (CBRNE) consequence management operations.
Members of the USNORTHCOM headquarters staff were also instrumental in coordinating and pre-planning for the event as well as providing up-to-the minute information during the event and its after-effects to U.S. Government interagency partners.
NORAD is a bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America. NORAD jet fighters on alert throughout North America are supported by air-to-air refueling tankers, airborne and ground-based radar, surveillance systems and satellites.
USNORTHCOM is the unified combatant command responsible for defending the homeland and providing defense support of civil authorities.