BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Friday February 15 2008 08:08 GMT

US to destroy falling satellite


An out-of-control American satellite that's heading for Earth will be destroyed before it crashes back down.

The US government has decided to blow it up as it enters the atmosphere, which should mean it lands safely in the sea.

The spy satellite could contain secret information, weighs about 9,072kg - that's the same weight as two elephants - and is about the size of a van.

Don't worry, lots of satellites fall back to Earth without any problems.

A spy satellite is a small machine orbiting the Earth, recording and sending back information - such as taking aerial photographs or listening in on important messages.