Out-of-control satellite tumbling back to Earth, expected to miss North America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — Debris from an old out-of-control U.S. satellite is expected to fall somewhere on Earth on Friday afternoon, NASA said, although the debris is expected to miss North America.

NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on Friday afternoon, almost six years after the end of its productive scientific life. Although the spacecraft will break into pieces during re-entry, not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere.

NASA said the risk to public safety or property is extremely small, but there is nonetheless a small chance debris could impact a populated area. However, since the beginning of the Space Age in the late-1950s, there have been no confirmed reports of an injury resulting from re-entering space objects. Nor is there a record of significant property damage resulting from a satellite re-entry.

As of early Thursday morning, the orbit of UARS was about 115 miles by 120 miles (185 kilometers by 195 kilometers). Re-entry is expected sometime during Friday afternoon. “The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period,” NASA said. “It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 36 hours.”

NASA said the satellite’s orbit is inclined 57 degrees to the equator, which means surviving components of UARS will land between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude. “It is impossible to pinpoint just where in that zone the debris will land, but NASA estimates the debris footprint will be about 500 miles (804 kilometers) long,” the agency said.

Since more than 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water, there is only a small chance the debris will impact land. Nonetheless, NASA urges people who may find UARS debris to not touch it and alert emergency services.

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2 Comments

  1. yes i
    September 23, 2011

    @justice and truth

    AMEN TO THAT

  2. Justice and Truth
    September 23, 2011

    …And we know that NASA is not God. Right now God knows where the out-of-control satellite will land. Last night, during a discussion with someone I stated that I hope it will not drop on my head or my place of residence. If it lands on people and on their home, woe to us.
    This is why NASA should never have been founded and should have left well alone in the atmosphere. While the pictures are beautiful and captivating, they interfered with the atmosphere and now we have all sorts of diseases and disasters. They are playing God while exorbitant sums of money were expended on those travels to space. This money could have fed the poor of the entire world and put to other beneficial use.
    If God wanted us to reside in space and even to see in-space, He would have allowed it from the beginning.
    God created us. Earth has the Law of Gravity which keeps us not rolling around but walking around. There are reasons for it. These are my thoughts on the matter. One day, all those mysteries will be revealed and unfold to us as God has ordained so that we will see the light and the truth of the matter and who is God from the beginning and until the end of time to eternity.

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