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New Images of Tumbling US Satellite

arisvega (1414195) writes | more than 3 years ago

NASA 0

arisvega (1414195) writes "An amateur astronomer has recorded images of the out-of-control US satellite as it tumbles back to Earth. Theirry Legault, from Paris, captured the video as the satellite passed over northern France on 15 September. The six-tonne, 20-year-old spacecraft has fallen out of orbit and is expected to crash somewhere on Earth on or around 24 September. The US space agency says the risk to life from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is 1 in 3,200. Mr Legault, an engineer, used a specially designed camera to record the tumbling satellite through his 14-inch telescope, posting the footage on his Astrophotography website.

UARS could land anywhere between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator — most of the populated world. Nasa says that most of the satellite will break or burn up before reaching Earth. But scientists have identified 26 separate pieces that could survive the fall through the atmosphere. This debris could rain across an area 400-500km (250-310 miles) wide. Robust, spherical satellite components such as fuel tanks are often most likely to survive the fiery plunge to Earth, say space experts. Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite The "productive scientific life" of UARS ended in 2005 when it ran out of fuel. Nasa said scientists would only be able to make more accurate predictions about where the satellite might land two hours before it enters the Earth's atmosphere."

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