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Soviets deny satellite fall to Earth poses danger

The Pentagon says the nuclear-powered Cosmos 1402 Soviet spy satellite will come crashing back to Earth this month, but a Russian space expert says it does not pose ''a dangerous situation.''

The vice-president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences said in Moscow that changes in the satellite's orbit were part of a ''preplanned operation'' and that he has ''no fears about the fate of this sputnik.''

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Prof. Heinz Kaminski, director of West Germany's Bochum Space Research Center , suggested that only the US space shuttle could rescue the satellite and prevent it from falling to Earth.