AFSPC Milestone: First US ASAT intercept
By Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
/ Published September 11, 2012
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.