NASA Satellite Comes Back to Earth
NASA has pinpointed the exact time and place that the dead climate Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) fell to Earth on Saturday, September 24, with the help of the military. The Joint Space Operations Center at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base determined that it re-entered our atmosphere at 12:01am EDT and fell into the Pacific Ocean at 14.1ºsouth latitude and 189.8ºeast longitude.
Just after the satellite plunged into the Pacific Ocean, officials at NASA said it was likely at the bottom of the ocean, but they didn’t know the exact location and time of its re-entry. This changed on Tuesday, when it announced that it had identified these details. This also comes after they originally believed that it would fall in an uncontrolled re-entry but were later able to predict which day this would happen.
The 6.5 tonne UARS satellite was launched into space on a shuttle in 1991 to study the ozone layer of the Earth. It was decommissioned in 2005 and has been losing altitude slowly since then. In its final update, NASA said that UARS broke into pieces during re-entry six years after its productive scientific life ended.
The organisation went on to say that most of the satellite burned up in the atmosphere, and it’s possible that 26 components could have survived and reached the Earth’s surface. The components could weigh a total of 1,200lbs. However, NASA noted that it fell in a broad, remote area of the ocean in the Southern Hemisphere; not even close to any major mass of land.