By Marc Kauffman and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 15, 2008; Page A01
The Pentagon said it decided to use a modified, ship-fired anti-ballistic missile to make the attempt sometime after Feb. 20 to avoid creating debris that could threaten the space shuttle on its return from the international space station.
Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Navy missile will be fired as the satellite reenters the atmosphere and “has a reasonably high opportunity for success.” The Pentagon and NASA have been working on the missile modifications for the past three weeks.
Deputy national security adviser James F. Jeffrey said the decision was based on the fact that the satellite is carrying a substantial amount of hydrazine, a hazardous rocket fuel.
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