Australia may be used to shoot down faulty satellite

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Sydney, Feb.20 : The man charged with giving the order to shoot down a failed United States spy satellite might do it from Australia.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates is due in Australia in the coming days as part of a nine-day tour that will take him first to Hawaii and then Australia before he goes on to Indonesia, India and Turkey, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper quoted a Pentagon spokesman as saying that Gates would be able to give the order to take down the satellite from anywhere, with the first attempt due on Thursday.

The operation is set to cost about 40 million dollars.

The "window of opportunity" to hit the satellite is open for eight days.

The US plans to use a Standard SM-3 missile to hit the highly classified satellite - the first such strike ever conducted by the US - and hopes the remains will land in the ocean.

There is a minute possibility the debris will hit earth, and Australia and other nations have been put on standby for that possibility.

China successfully conducted a similar mission last year, much to the consternation of Western nations.

ANI

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