US opens window for shooting down satellite

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 04:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The US military has opened a window beginning at 10:30 pm Wednesday (0300 GMT Thursday) to launch a missile to shoot down a failed spy satellite, a military source said.

The Navy plans to launch a missile from a cruiser near Hawaii to destroy the satellite carrying fuel that defence officials believe could be hazardous to humans. A senior defence official said the window of opportunity to launch the missile is "tens of seconds."

The satellite is in low orbit and estimates show it will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere by the first week of March. The Pentagon hopes to destroy the fuel tank before re-entry to minimize the possibility the fuel, called hydrazine, can harm people.

Pentagon officials had said that poor weather and rough waters in the Pacific might have forced a delay in carrying out the strike on Wednesday and there was still no guarantee the launch would go forward.