Satellite To Hit Earth Friday

An Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is expected to re-enter Earth atmosphere on Friday with most of its 6.5-tones going to burn in the atmosphere, NASA scientists said. According to NASA sources, there is little to no-chance debris from the falling satellite to hit someone on Earth but scientists cannot predict exactly where the debris will hit the planet.

Satellite Hit Earth

The satellite was operational for 14 years following its arrival in orbit in 1991 through a shuttle mission. The UARS collected data on ozone and other chemicals concentrations in the atmosphere and complete its scientific mission in 2005.

NASA experts believe that up to 26 pieces of the spacecraft can hit the ground after the rest of satellite is burn during its free fall. Every year a satellite of similar size re-enters atmosphere and the chance a piece of this particular spacecraft to hit somebody is approximately 3,200 to 1, experts said. The UARS orbit, however, do not allow scientists to calculate the exact place where the spacecraft will hit Earth and this could happen anywhere on the planet, most probably somewhere in the ocean.

Of the 26 pieces expected to survive satellite’s return to Earth, the largest one is expected to be about 331 pounds, according to NASA’s Orbital Debris Program office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The satellite’s re-entry into the atmosphere is forecast to occur between late-Thursday and early-Saturday while currently the UARS is orbiting the planet in an orbit that is 225 km high on average.


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