If North Korea ever unleashed nuclear-armed missiles against America, the defence of U.S. cities and towns would depend to no small degree on something called a divert thruster.
These small rocket motors would be counted on to keep U.S. anti-missile interceptors on target as they hurtled through space toward the incoming warheads.
If the thrusters malfunctioned – and they have a record of performance problems – an interceptor could veer off-course, allowing a warhead to slip through. The consequences could be catastrophic.
So a lot was at stake when the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency conducted the first flight test of a new and supposedly improved version of the thruster on Jan. 28. It failed......
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