Friday, September 23, 2011

UARS Satellite To Fall To Earth Within Hours

NASA ARTIST CONCEPTION

NASA's UARS satellite is now predicted to fall back to the earth during this  afternoon or evening of (Eastern Daylight Time)  according to a NASA orbital update which was released September 22, 2011 at 9:30 p.m.

As of 9:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 22, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 110 mi by 115 mi (205 km by 225 km).  It is still too early to predict the exact time and location of re-entry.  But NASA predicts that it will not hit North America because the satellite will  not be overhead during that time period.

The re-entry of UARS has advanced because of a sharp increase in solar activity the during last two weeks.

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, heavily populated areas of the earth (except North and South America) could potentially experience falling debris.
FEMA has made preparations just in case UARS falls on the United States.


***UPDATE***

Space Junk Update: UARS Fell In South Pacific