From The Telegraph:
Perhaps you remember when China soiled the (space) bed in January 2007 by kinetically destroying one of their aged-out satellites, creating a massive and enduring space debris field?
The American Government was so incensed by Chinese actions in space that it privately warned Beijing it would face military action if it did not desist.
The Chinese carried out further tests as recently as last year, however, leading to further protests from Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, secret documents show.
Perhaps you also remember the United States destroyed a dead satellite with a full load of frozen hydrazine?
In February 2008, America launched its own “test” strike to destroy a malfunctioning American satellite, which demonstrated to the Chinese it also had the capability to strike in space.
America stated at the time that the strike was not a military test but a necessary mission to remove a faulty spy satellite.
The leaked documents appear to show its true intentions.
However, despite that last assertion, the remainder of the Telegraph article hangs its “true intentions” hat on this:
In secret dispatches, US officials indicated that the strike was, in fact, military in nature.
Immediately after the US Navy missile destroyed the satellite, the American Embassy in China received “direct confirmation of the results of the anti-satellite test” from the US military command in the Pacific, according to a secret memo.
Please. The Navy launched the SM-3 in question and the event had Presidential interest so wouldn’t the military want the rest of the U.S. government to know whether or not the event was a success or a failure? Good grief.
You can make the case the United States got a four-fer here:
1. the event showed an ASAT capability
2. the event prevented sensitive technologies from potentially being recovered by non-friendlies
3. the event showed a missile defense capability
4. However, most importantly and foundationally, the event was based on a public safety benefit (albeit a small one) by destroying a gigantic and hazardous hydrazine Slurpee.
The U.S. event was done in the open and created no enduring debris, unlike the Chinese event which will have repercussions which last centuries.
And you still can’t spell Assange without a-s-s.