December 14, 2006 – American spy satellite USA-193 is launched. USA-193, also known as NRO launch 21 (NROL-21 or simply L-21), was an American military spy satellite launched on December 14, 2006. It was the first launch conducted by the United Launch Alliance. Owned by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the craft’s precise function and purpose were classified. The satellite malfunctioned shortly after deployment, and was intentionally destroyed 14 months later on February 21, 2008, by a modified, $9.5 million SM-3 missile fired from the warship USS Lake Erie, stationed west of Hawaii. The event highlighted growing distrust between the U.S. and China, and was viewed by some to be part of a wider “space race” involving the U.S., China, and Russia.