NASA satellite UARS may enter back to Earth on September 23

By on Sep 17, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States, World Comments

Updated: September 22, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Read UARS update: Falling NASA satellite caught by astronomical telescope (Video)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released an update on their Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) which is now returning back to Earth.



NASA satellite UARS (Artist’s sketch)
Image Credit: NASA.gov

As announced by NASA on its official website on Friday, September 16, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 140 miles by 155 miles (225 km by 250 km) that day.

NASA said UARS is being estimated to re-enter Earth on September 23, plus or minus one day, in which the satellite’s re-entry notably advancing due to a sharp increase in solar activity since this week started.

As reported earlier, UARS is being expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere late this month or in the early part of October this year but the exact date is difficult to estimate that time.

UARS debris is being expected to land within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude, but the exact place where it will drop is unknown.

The UARS, which weighs about 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) and measures 35 foot by 15 foot, was sent into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery in 1991 and was last commissioned in 2005.

NASA emphasized that the satellite will break into pieces while re-entering the Earth and not all of it will be burned in the atmosphere, noting that safety is their priority.

Although there were no previous incident-related reports, NASA continues to remind the public not to touch any suspected part of UARS debris, but rather contact respective local police for assistance.



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