Defense officials: toxic tank probably hit

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense officials say it appears a missile hit its mark and blasted apart a dead spy satellite's toxic fuel tank.

One of the officials say observers saw what appeared to be an explosion, suggesting the tank was hit. It's the first-ever use of the Pentagon's missile defense system to shoot a satellite from the sky. Wednesday night's shot was aimed at the contents of the tank, which the Bush administration determined would pose a health hazard if it landed intact.

The Pentagon says it should be able to confirm within 24 hours if the tank was hit. Debris should be raining back down on Earth immediately and the Pentagon says nearly all of it will fry up on re-entry.

The missile had to be modified from its original purpose of knocking out incoming missiles. Officials estimate the mission cost around 30 million dollars.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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