Skip to comments.Huge Tumbling Satellite Could Fall to Earth Over US Tonight or Saturday, NASA Says (UPDATED)
Posted on 09/23/2011 10:07:53 AM PDT by Evil Slayer
A huge, dead satellite tumbling to Earth is falling slower than expected, and may now plummet down somewhere over the United States tonight or early Saturday, despite forecasts that it would miss North America entirely, NASA officials now say.
The 6 1/2-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was expected to fall to Earth sometime this afternoon (Sept. 23), but changes in the school bus-size satellite's motion may push it to early Saturday, according to NASA's latest observations of the spacecraft.
"The satellite's orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent," NASA officials wrote in a morning status update today. "There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent."
NASA expects about 26 large pieces of the UARS spacecraft to survive re-entry through Earth's atmosphere and reach the planet's surface. The biggest piece should weigh about 300 pounds. The spacecraft is the largest NASA satellite to fall from space uncontrolled since 1979.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
I guess I should continue with the plums, then.
Drag alone is enough to determine impact speed. Drag specifically counteracts the accelleration of gravity and in effect sets a limit on speed in a steady state environment. The atmosphere isn't really steady state as it gets more dense (more drag) closer to the surface.
Everything being equal though, aerodynamic drag is the limiting factor for an object falling freely, of which this event is a pretty good case of.
Weight as you note (more accurately density) does play a role as the more dense an object is the less surface area there likely is to create aerodynamic drag resulting in a higher velocity before drag = acceleration of gravity resulting in a higher terminal velocity.
be great if it tagged the meca
I cant believe how much people remember me saying that 10 years ago...I will never live it down!
It’s coming up to the sw shore of Mexico. Any FReepers in Mexico see UARS?
Look up, Texas!
I think i just saw it. Weird. fast moving.
Heading for Mecca...
In pieces so tiny they would not survive reentry intact. They would disperse so widely as to be inconsequential.
Yeah good plan. :)
I thought so. It beats letting big chunks fall where they will.
LOL. A specific whale or just any whale?
My wife was telling me about a conversation with one of her seventh graders about whale poop today (as in, how much is in the ocean). A direct hit would probably increase that amount for a short while.
Looks like it is leaving Canada.
mark for later.
You will never know. Getting beaned at Mach 25 is quick.
I was outside but didn’t see anything. There’s a big tree so maybe it was behind that. Still the people away from the tree didn’t see anything either.
I believe them when they say they don’t know.
Any updates on probable impact time?
I don’t get why we can land a man on the moon but not get decent info about this.
Africa? Now we know why Obama pulled the plug on NASA so he could drop that thing on the real bc.
10-4 on the big trees. I was in the right spot apparently. Went by fast. Still all in one piece ... if that’s what i actually saw. SE to SW looked like it was over San Antonio. I’m in Kerrville.
Found it - just nasty. Some dude with really bad vericose veins just pulled his fingernail off.
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