Thursday, 29 September 2011

Satellite debris fell in Pacific

Debris from a defunct six-ton NASA science satellite that crashed to Earth last Saturday fell harmlessly in a remote area of the South Pacific Ocean, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Experts estimated that as much as 495 kilograms of debris survived the bus-sized satellite's fiery plunge through the atmosphere, which started at midnight last Saturday.
The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California determined that the United States space agency's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite entered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 170.2 west longitude, NASA said in a statement.

That location is in the Pacific in the rough vicinity of Samoa.
The debris was then scattered between 480 kilometers to 1,300km from the re-entry point, NASA said.
Land mass
"This location is over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass," NASA said, adding that the agency "is not aware of any possible debris sightings from this geographic area."
Measuring 10.6km long and 4.6km in diameter, the UARS was among the largest spacecraft to plummet uncontrollably through the atmosphere.
NASA now plans for the controlled re-entry of large spacecraft, but it did not when the UARS was designed.
The 5,897kg satellite was placed into orbit by a space shuttle crew in 1991 to study ozone and other chemicals in Earth's atmosphere. It completed its mission in 2005 and had been slowly losing altitude ever since, pulled by the planet's gravity.
The UARS was one of about 20,000 pieces of space debris in orbit around Earth. Something the size of the UARS falls back into the atmosphere about once a year.

No comments:

Post a Comment