Russia doubts defunct US satellite may have nuclear material

February 16th, 2008 - 5:11 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, Feb 16 (RIA Novosti) Russia is suspecting the US spy satellite that has gone out of control may have nuclear material onboard and is closely monitoring its movement in orbit, a top defence ministry official has said. “Russian military experts suggest the satellite could have an onboard nuclear power source,” said Igor Barinov, first deputy chairperson of the State Duma (parliament) defence committee.

“The defence ministry is using its space surveillance systems to track the satellite’s movement in orbit,” he said and expressed concern that the US had made a unilateral decision to destroy the satellite, which could jeopardise collective security.

The US Defence Department Thursday said it would shoot down the decaying satellite, which it earlier considered to be of low risk.

The department also said the chances that the “uncontrollable US experimental satellite” will hit a populated area are small, but “the potential consequences would be of enough concern to consider mitigating actions”.

They said the satellite would be shot down after the space shuttle Atlantis, which is in orbit, completes its mission and lands next week. NASA officials do not want to risk sending debris into the path of the shuttle.

President George W Bush has authorised the destruction of the satellite using a sea-to-air missile within the next few days.
RIA Novosti

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