Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

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Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

Post by FinnFreak on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:20 pm

CNN - September 22, 2011


NASA not sure where space junk will come down




By John Zarrella, CNN


Miami (CNN) -- A satellite whose orbit is degrading will fall back to Earth Friday afternoon, but only some of its pieces will survive the fiery ride through the atmosphere, NASA scientists said Thursday.

The pieces are not expected to come down over North America, scientists said, but where they'll likely land is something NASA expects to narrow down over the next 24 hours.

Most of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is made of aluminum and will burn up on re-entry, NASA said. Of the satellite's 6 tons, only about half a ton of it will make it back to Earth. The components that won't burn are made of stainless steel, titanium and beryllium. NASA has identified 26 pieces they expect to survive, ranging in size from around 10 pounds to hundreds of pounds.

Mark Matney of NASA's Orbital Debris team in Houston told CNN there's no way to know exactly where those pieces will come down.

"Keep in mind, they won't be traveling at those high orbital velocities. As they hit the air they tend to slow down and travel, they're still traveling fast a few tens to hundreds of miles per hour but no longer those tremendous orbital velocities," he explained.

Because the satellite travels thousands of miles in a matter of minutes as it orbits -- even just before it hits the Earth's atmosphere -- it will be impossible to pinpoint the exact location the pieces will come down. On top of that, Matney said, the satellite is not stable.

"Part of the problem is the spacecraft is tumbling in unpredictable ways and it is very difficult to very precisely pinpoint where it's coming down even right before the re-entry."

Because water covers 70% of the Earth's surface, NASA believes that most, if not all of the surviving debris will land in water. Even if pieces strike dry land, there's very little risk any of it will hit people.

However, in an abundance of caution, the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday released an advisory warning pilots about the falling satellite, calling it a potential hazard.

"It is critical that all pilots/flight crew members report any observed falling space debris to the appropriate (air traffic control) facility and include position, altitude, time and direction of debris observed," the FAA statement said.

The FAA said warnings of this sort typically are sent out to pilots concerning specific hazards they may encounter during flights such as air shows, rocket launches, kites and inoperable radio navigational aids.

NASA says space debris the size of the UARS components re-enters the atmosphere about once year. Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell noted that UARS is far from being the biggest space junk to come back.

"This is nothing like the old Skylab scare of the '70s when you had a 70-ton space station crashing out of the sky. So, I agree with the folks in Houston. It's nothing to be worried about," McDowell said.

Pieces of Skylab came down in western Australia in 1979.

The only wild card McDowell sees is if somehow a chunk hits a populated area.

"If the thing happens to come down in a city, that would be bad. The chances of it causing extensive damage or injuring someone are much higher."

NASA says once the debris hits the atmosphere 50 miles up, it will take only a matter of minutes before the surviving pieces hit the Earth.



Sleeping Satellite - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OV8uFRQ7-8


I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

Did we fly to the moon too soon?
Did we squander the chance? In the rush of the race
The reason we chase is lost in romance
And still we try to justify the waste
For a taste of man's greatest adventure

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

Have we got what it takes to advance?
Did we peak too soon? If the world is so green
Then why does it scream under a blue moon?
We wonder why the earth's sacrificed
For the price of its greatest treasure

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

And when we shoot for the stars
What a giant step have we got what it takes
To carry the weight of this concept?
Or pass it by like a shot in the dark
Miss the mark with a sense of adventure

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite




John -
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Re: Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

Post by faithfully on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:57 pm

I better take a hat with me just in case santa
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Re: Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

Post by FinnFreak on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:41 pm

Wise choice.


John - jocolor
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Re: Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

Post by FinnFreak on Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:42 am

NASA UARS Mission Updates - 24 September 2011, 16:37:25 UTC


NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States. The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.


This is your source for official information on the re-entry of UARS. All information posted here has been verified with a government agency or law enforcement.


NASA will conduct a media telecon at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the re-entry. The telecon will be streamed live at www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


John - Wink
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Re: Satellite Comeback With A Bang..?

Post by Paul on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:58 am

Apparently it landed on Gadaffi. Laughing
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