Saturday, September 17, 2011

UARS Satellite To Fall To Earth Earlier Than Predicted


NASA's UARS satellite is now predicted to fall back to the earth between September 23 and 25 according to a NASA orbital update which was released yesterday.

As of Sept. 16, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 140 mi by 155 mi (225 km by 250 km). 

The re-entry of UARS is advancing because of a sharp increase in solar activity since the beginning of this week.

Increased solar activity heats up the earth's atmosphere, sending more atmospheric molecules further into space which causes additional drag on low orbital satellites.

The range of latitude where UARS is expected to fall remains the same. 

The risk to public safety or property is extremely small according to NASA.  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.

However, all heavily populated areas of the earth could potentially experience falling debris.


Space Junk Update: UARS Fell In South Pacific