Author`s name Alex Naumov

Russia may fowl US spy satellite when it falls down

A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret, the AP reports.

Pravda.Ru has interviewed Mark Hempsell, senior lecturer in astronautics of University of Bristol, to find out about possible consequences of the US spy satellite crash .

Pravda.Ru: Who will be responsible if the satellite's debris kills someone or destroys someone's home?

Mark Hempsell: All satellites that are launched have a sponsoring country and it is the Government of that country who is responsible for any consequential liability due to any failure in the satellite. In this case it will be the United States Government.

Pravda.Ru: Is there possibility to prevent this satellite from falling on Earth?

Mark Hempsell: All satellites in low earth orbit will eventually hit the atmosphere and return to Earth, spy satellites tend to be in very low orbits and without repeated boosting of the orbit return very quickly. Small satellites normally burn up completely, but for larger satellites some pieces may survive the reentry and reach the ground. For this reason such satellites are deliberate de-orbited to land in the Pacific Ocean but if the Americans have lost the attitude control and propulsion systems, the landing point cannot be controlled in this way. However th e chances of it actually doing any damage when it reenters are very remote indeed.

In 1979, Skylab, a 78-ton abandoned NASA space station fell from orbit in an uncontrolled manner. Its debris eventually dropped into the Indian Ocean and across a remote section of western Australia harmlessly.

Skylab was the first space station the United States launched into orbit, and the second space station ever visited by a human crew. The 75 metric ton station was in Earth orbit from 1973 to 1979, and it was visited by crews three times in 1973 and 1974. It included a laboratory for studying the effects of microgravity and a solar observatory.

Russian and Chinese military space agencies are closely watching the falling US spy satellite. According to international think tanks these agencies are eager to grab the satellite in almost free fall. Americans are determined not to allow that.

Americans know the exact trajectory and possible path of the satellite. America has the capability to shoot down the satellite with a missile. Although no one is talking about that right now.

Is it really possible for the Russians and Chinese to seal a free falling satellite? According to defense experts it will only be possible if the satellite drifts into their territory. Some totally disagree. They claim it is impossible to decelerate the satellite from outside using some kind of flux and then capture the same.

It will be a test of Russian and Chinese antigravity technologies. If any of them can demonstrate that, it will be remarkable.

Most like before that can happen America will take down the satellite with pin pointed multi-missile attack, reports.

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik