Satellite Shot Down

The Pentagon says the U.S. Navy has successfully shot down a defunct satellite that was headed toward earth.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Live from NPR studios at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We are news, information, trademarks. Hey, I'm Rachel Martin.

ALISON STEWART, host:

I'm Alison Stewart, and I'm obsessed with trademarks. You'll find out why in a little bit. It's Thursday, February 21st, 2008. And Rachel and I share something, aside from a studio in the morning: insomnia.

MARTIN: Yeah, we're a bit tired today, people. We're not going to lie.

STEWART: How did it - what happened to you?

MARTIN: You know, I was walking home, and I noticed this place where you can actually pay to take a nap, which is so New York. And I thought must make three more blocks home to sleep. And I did, and I went to bed, you know, early, like 7:30, and I just laid there. And I couldn't sleep for like five hours.

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STEWART: Coming up on the show, what do you have? What do we have?

MARTIN: We are going to talk about a group of people who are training to be volunteer, and in some cases, professional advocates for cancer patients. They're called cancer coaches. They're more like guides who help people navigate the really complex difficulties of cancer diagnosis.

STEWART: All right, here's why I'm obsessed with trademarks. Let's get ready to rumble is a trademarked phrase.

MARTIN: What?

STEWART: Can you believe that?

MARTIN: Do we have to pay something for you to just say that?

STEWART: No, because it belongs to Michael Buffer. There, I said it. We'll talk a little bit more about what you can trademark and about a case involving a singer called Lennon Murphy and Yoko Ono. That's how we got interested in how trademark law works. We're going to talk with a man who helped former Vice President Al Gore get the name Current TV.

MARTIN: Cool. Also, the winners of the Independent Games Festival Awards, part of the 2008 Game Developers Conference, which is going on right now in San Francisco.

We'll get today's headlines in just a minute. But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

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MARTIN: The Pentagon says the U.S. Navy has successfully shot down a defunct satellite that was headed towards earth.

(Soundbite of movie, "Armageddon")

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) The two halves are going to miss us by 400 miles, and most of the small particles have been vaporized.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) Houston, we're coming home.

Unidentified Man #3 (Actor): (As character) We copy that, Freedom.

MARTIN: Okay, actually that was from the movie "Armageddon." There's no actual video of the satellite being shot down, but the Pentagon says it happened last night, at about 10:29 p.m. Eastern Time, three minutes after the missile was launched from the USS Lake Erie. Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the go-ahead earlier in the day.

STEWART: The main objective was to explode the satellite's tank of toxic hydrazine fuel about 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Defense officials are saying this morning the strike appears to have been a success. Some senior military officials say observers did see an explosion.

MARTIN: After the strike, Admiral Tim Keating talked to the media at Hickam Air Base in Hawaii.

Admiral TIM KEATING (Commander, United States Pacific Command): This is a big deal. It's an expensive proposition. The president had made a decision to execute this maneuver so as to reduce, if not eliminate, the chance for damage to anyone on the face of the earth.

MARTIN: The Pentagon says that most debris from the explosion will burn up on re-entry within 24 to 48 hours, and the rest should re-enter within 40 days. Admiral Keating says that while the debris doesn't pose much of a danger, the Navy will be ready.

Adm. KEATING: We have teams positioned, you may or may not know, to attend to the management of consequences, some of them in the Pacific, some of them in other parts of the country, to lend assistance should parts of the satellite survive the missile impact and hit. We don't think the hydrazine container is going to hit. That's why we're shooting at it.

MARTIN: But you know, some other countries aren't so pleased with this whole operation. Russian officials accused the U.S. of testing a new weapon and attempting to, quote, "Move the arms race into space." And China said it was on the alert for possible harmful fallout from the shoot-down.

STEWART: As for that aforementioned cost, officials estimate the mission cost at least $30 million. That's the BPP's Big Story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines.

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