WASHINGTON: A large US spy satellite has lost power and could hit the earth in late February or March.

“Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,” Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for National Security Council, said. “Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.”

US officials were unable to manoeuvre the satellite, and Mr Johndroe declined to say whether it would be possible to shoot it down before it plummeted through the Earth’s atmosphere.

At the Pentagon, Lieutenant-Colonel Karen Finn of the air force confirmed that military officials believed the satellite could hit the Earth soon, but added that more analysis would be needed to determine exactly when and where.

John Pike, the director of the defence research group GlobalSecurity.org, estimated that the spacecraft weighed about 9.072 tonnes and was the size of a small bus.

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