We may know the culprit behind last week's tragic missile launch that hit Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. There's been a lot of speculation about who fired the missile because of all of the chaos in Ukraine right now.
But President Barack Obama confidently said recently that the missile came from an area controlled by pro-Russian groups in Ukraine. While we don't know exactly where the President got his information, it most likely came from U.S. satellites that can pinpoint things like missiles and anti-aircraft weapons.
That information likely came from one of a network of satellites operated by the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the US intelligence community’s spy satellite operations agency. Using highly sensitive infrared sensors and other electronic intelligence gathering sensors, these satellites can detect a variety of ground-based missile systems, as well as some aircraft, by their infrared signature.
The U.S. first began developing satellites for this type of use during the Cold War. Since then, the government and military have been developing even more satellite technology for these uses. Several of these new satellites, and some of the older ones, are used for monitoring potential threats and unstable regions in the world like Ukraine. That's why the President probably had access to information about where the missile came from.
My prayers go out to the families that lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy. No amount of information can ease their pain, but at least we are closer to knowing who is responsible for this senseless act.