East Texas Man Talks About 1985 Missile Attack Against Satellite - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/21/08-Hideaway

East Texas Man Talks About 1985 Missile Attack Against Satellite

Wednesday night's missile hit is actually not the first time the United States has successfully destroyed a satellite orbiting in space.  Decades ago, the U.S. Air Force and ATV Aerospace created a missile designed to kill a satellite, and in 1985 the Air Force did just that. 

"It was sort of a surreal experience to turn on the radio, and it's just a live all over," said Charles Boyd. 

Thursday morning's news of the destruction of the dead spy satellite is all too familiar to Charles Boyd of Hideaway.

"That was a trip down memory lane," said Boyd. 

That's because in 1985,he helped create the missile that shot down another dead satellite orbiting in space.

"It was pretty interesting," said Boyd, who helped build Anti-satellite Missile. "We worked on it for some time.  A lot of hard work went into the development of it." 

Boyd said he was responsible for building the infra-red sensor that guided the Antisatellite Missile, or Asat, to the satellite.  Unlike the missile used Wednesday night by the Navy, the Asat was designed to hit a satellite, not another missile.  Another difference is how the missile got there.

"It starts with the F15 aircraft with the Asat Missile under its belly getting some altitude about 40,000 feet, and it launches the missile from the aircraft." 

It was a one hit wonder, and it wouldn't be until today Boyd would hear of another satellite being destroyed in space.

"Shortly after our missile launch, Congress discovered an obscure treaty with the Russians that said we were not supposed to be doing that.  We had worked hard and spent a lot of the Air Force's money and the tax payer's money developing this, and it came to a halt pretty quickly after we demonstrated the capability to kill a satellite." 

Boyd said he is not sure if what he helped accomplish some 22 years ago impacted Wednesday night's successful missile hit, but he does take comfort in knowing when needed, a satellite can once again be destroyed.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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