Satellite eludes trackers

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The Independent Online

Science Correspondent

After keeping the world on tenterhooks for weeks as it orbited out of control, the Chinese spy satellite FSW-1, launched in October 1993, plunged harmlessly into the ocean early yesterday morning. The only question was: which ocean?

Russia's military radar network tracked the one-ton satellite's earthward plunge, and said it had fallen into the north-east Pacific ocean, off the coast of Alaska, at 0325 GMT.

The US Space Command said it splashed down in the southern Atlantic at 0405 GMT.

The RAF's Strike Command and the European Space Agency both announced that they had lost contact with the satellite some hours before it landed, and that its final splashdown point was unknown. "The area where it came down isn't covered by anyone's radar network," a representative of Strike Command said yesterday.