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AFSPC Milestone: First US ASAT intercept

Maj. Wilbert "Doug" Pearson successfully launched an anti-satellite, or ASAT, missile from a highly modified F-15A Sept. 13, 1985 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He scored a direct hit on a satellite orbiting 340 miles overhead. (Courtesy photo illustration)

Maj. Wilbert "Doug" Pearson successfully launched an anti-satellite, or ASAT, missile from a highly modified F-15A Sept. 13, 1985 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He scored a direct hit on a satellite orbiting 340 miles overhead. (Courtesy photo illustration)

Air-launched anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) were carried under F-15 aircraft. In 1985 a test launch successfully resulted in the destruction of an obsolete satellite. The missile was never put into production or made operational. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air-launched anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) were carried under F-15 aircraft. In 1985 a test launch successfully resulted in the destruction of an obsolete satellite. The missile was never put into production or made operational. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Peterson AFB, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command is celebrating its 30th Anniversary! Here is a significant milestone from the command's history ...

Twenty seven years ago today, the first ASAT (Air-Launched Anti-Satellite Missile) was launched from an F-15 aircraft and successfully destroyed its target.
ASAT is a small air-launched missile capable of intercepting and destroying enemy satellites in low earth orbit. The missile consists of a modified Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM) first stage, a Thiokol Altair III second stage, and a Vought miniature homing vehicle (MHV).

The ASAT was launched from an F-15 aircraft in a steep climb. This gave the ASAT's rocket a useful initial velocity to allow it to reach its target in orbit. After the first stage separated, the second stage propelled the MHV into space on a collision course with the target. The MHV destroyed the target by ramming it at high speed.