Chairman Smith: “I’m talking about the meteor that exploded over Russia.” Gen. Shelton: “We had no insight on that at all.” Chairman Smith: “Even with satellites? Even with everything else?” Gen. Shelton: “We were aware of the event when it occurred.” Chairman Smith: “And not before?” Gen. Shelton: “And not before.” Chairman Smith: “I just have to ask you how, then, are we going to be aware of incoming missiles if we couldn’t detect the meteor exploding over Russia?” Gen. Shelton: “We did detect it. We were aware of the event.” Chairman Smith: “But at the time of the event?” Gen. Shelton: “Yes sir, Chairman Smith: “Not before.” Gen. Shelton: “Yes sir. And we would have to take that into a different forum to talk in more detail.”
Was the Chelyabinsk Meteor recognized by the world’s space-fairing superpowers as a natural event and not the start of a nuclear exchange? Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) quizzed Gen. William Shelton, U.S. Air Force Space Command about detection.
Credit: C-SPAN / NASA