Decommissioned UARS Satellite Soon to Reenter Earth’s Atmosphere
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2011) — The Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) is predicted to reenter Earth’s atmosphere Friday, Sept. 23, at 9:04 Pacific Time, plus or minus 3 hours.
“This is not an uncommon event; space debris is reentering our atmosphere all of the time,” said Dr. William Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS). “We are trying to learn everything that we can about orbital and reentry debris so that we can protect space missions and human interests on the ground.”
The few pieces of the decommissioned NASA satellite that survive reentry will most likely fall in the ocean; however, the west coast of the United States is within the predicted dispersal zone. Falling material is expected to pose very little risk to human life and property.
“There are many variables that make predicting where a satellite will fall back to Earth very complicated. The reentry of UARS this evening is consistent with the modeling we prepared at Aerospace,” Ailor added.
CORDS was established at The Aerospace Corporation to study orbital debris and reentry hazards and to help mitigate any risks debris might pose to space missions.
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