Fears that part of a Chinese spy satellite falling from space would hit land evaporated when it disappeared from radar over the south Atlantic.

In fact, Air Force trackers at Colorado Springs aren't even sure whether the 2-ton capsule survived re-entry into Earth's atmosphere when its 17,000-mph free fall ended late Monday."If it survived re-entry, it should have impacted in the mid-southern Atlantic," said Dave Knox, a spokesman for the U.S. Space Com-mand, which has tracking equipment designed to look for incoming missiles.

Exactly where the capsule hit, if it survived, remains a mystery. "Unless somebody finds a piece of it, there's no way to know," Knox said.

Since it came down over the south Atlantic, an area of several million square miles of open water, "the only way anyone could tell (where it landed) is if they actually saw it plummet to earth," Maj. Robin Alford of the Space Command said Tuesday.

The Space Command's radar is not aimed at the ocean, he said. "We track objects in space." The agency tracks more than 7,000 man-made objects in orbit, ranging in size from lost camera lens caps to rocket bodies.

The FSW-1 imaging satellite has been tracked since its launch on Oct. 8, 1993.