Skip to comments.7-ton NASA satellite set to fall
Posted on 09/07/2011 12:09:55 PM PDT by Red Badger
NASA says a defunct seven-ton satellite is due to re-enter the atmosphere with the potential to rain debris upon Earth.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, is expected to come down in late September or early October, the space agency said today in an advisory. "Although the spececraft will break into pieces during re-entry, not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere," NASA said.
The agency said it's too early to say exactly when UARS will make its final plunge, or exactly where any debris will come down. Russian news reports suggested that Moscow was "in the zone of risk," but that projection was based merely on the inclination of UARS' orbit.
"The orbital track and re-entry location are going to be more refined as the days pass," NASA spokeswoman Beth Dickey told me today.
UARS was deployed from the shuttle Discovery in 1991 to study Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the sun. The $750 million mission measured the concentrations and distribution of gases important to ozone depletion, climate change and other atmospheric phenomena. NASA says readings from UARS provided conclusive evidence that chlorine in the atmosphere, originating from human-produced chlorofluorocarbons, is at the root of the polar ozone hole.
The satellite was decommissioned in 2005. "They had put it in a disposal orbit at that point, and that disposal orbit reduced its orbital lifetime by about 20 years," Dickey said. The satellte was initially projected to come down in the 2009-2010 time frame.
NASA says it plans to post updates about UARS' status weekly until four days before the anticipated re-entry, and then daily until about 24 hours before re-entry. Further updates would come at 12 hours, four hours and two hours before re-entry.
(Excerpt) Read more at cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com ...
“The zone of risk.” I really like that phrase.
“So, where do you folks live?”
“Ah, we live about 20 blocks north of ‘the zone of risk’.”
I know where I’d like to see it land!
Skylab under Carter, and now UARS under Obama. What is it with DemocRAT Presidents and valuable space assets being discarded?
“There’ll be plenty of Skylab for everyone!”
Please ping me in time to put my helmet on.
The "sone of risk" is probably the entire earth between 57°N and 57°S, but the Russian news report pumped up the warning to Moscow.
If Moscow is in the zone of risk, then the entire populated area of the earth is in this zone of risk. Except maybe for those scientists living in Antarctica. The thing to recall is that STS 107 Columbia broke up over reasonably populated areas of Texas and did not hurt anyone on the ground. The zone of risk is currently a huge target.
"Do you feel lucky?"
I wonder how you spell the equivalent of FUD in Cyrillic?
An ad hoc Spokane, Wash., group called the Skylab Self-Defense Society hung a 15-ft. bull's-eye on the side of a downtown office building and suggested, "Make Spokane the target for Skylab's landing. If you give the Government a target to shoot at, it's bound to miss. That is our greatest protection."-TIME Magazine, July 16, 1979
I remember that banner. It said "Official U.S. Government Skylab Target" in red above a big, red bullseye. They also sold t-shirts and posters. I bought a poster (heck, it was only a buck) and brought it with me to Maine that summer. I put it outside the bunkhouse where my cousins and I slept.
Hey...it worked. No pieces of Skylab came down in either Spokane OR Maine.
If they were able to do that, why were they not able to deorbit the thing at that time and dump any surviving debris in the Pacific or wherever else might be appropriate?
Ah, those were the days!
“Hey, is that the sun up there?”
“I don’t know. I’m a stranger in town!”
-Larry, Moe and Curly
Drop it on Mecca.
Why don’t we take the shuttle up and fix it ?
First came the “Summer of Recovery”
Now 0bamao brings us the “Fall of UARS”
Kind of a metaphor for the decline of NASA generally.
The $750 million mission measured the concentrations and distribution of gases important to ozone depletion, climate change and other atmospheric phenomena.
Timing is suspious, given the comet elinen. Just saying.