US to give China satellite data

Washington prepared to share "appropriate" information on satellite shooting.

    A missile launched from the USS Lake Erie hit the spy satellite on Thursday [AFP]

    Liu Jianchao, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said on Thursday that Beijing was asking the US to "provide to the international community necessary information and relevant data in a timely and prompt way".

     

    China's official Xinhua News Agency on Thursday reported the satellite's shooting without comment. 

     

    The US had criticised China for shooting down a defunct Chinese weather satellite in January 2007, giving no notice before the event.

     

    Washington discussed its plans at length before the shooting and said it was not an anti-satellite weapons test.

     

    Militarising space

     

    Rogue satellite

    Satellite code name USA-193 launched in December 2006 on a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

     

    Top secret military reconnaissance mission - otherwise known as a spy satellite

     

    Controllers lost contact with satellite hours after it entered orbit

     

    Carrying approximately 450kg of toxic hydrazine rocket fuel

     

    Satellite itself weighs about two tonnes and is about the size of a bus

    Requests by US officials for more information on China's satellite shooting were ignored and none of Beijing's recent statements mentioned China's own destruction of the satellite.

     

    Although no country has ever tried to shoot down another nation's satellite, David Mosher, a senior policy analyst at the Rand Corp think-tank, told the Associated Press that it could be an effective military tactic.

     

    Mosher said satellites are now widely used for communications, missile launch detection and intelligence gathering.

     

    "The country that has the most to lose if space becomes militarised is the US," he said.

     

    "We rely on satellites so heavily, both militarily and commercially ... We don't want to go down that route."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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