U.S. is in falling satellite's potential strike zone, NASA says

Ringel05

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"During that time period, the satellite will be passing over Canada, Africa and Australia, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The risk to public safety is very remote," the space agency said.

The United States is once again an unlikely but potential target for the 26 pieces of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, expected to survive the descent. Those pieces, made of stainless steel, titanium and beryllium that won't burn, will range from about 10 pounds to hundreds of pounds, according to NASA.

"There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States," NASA headquarters said, "but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent."
U.S. is in falling satellite's potential strike zone, NASA says - CNN.com

Should I do my Chicken Little impression?
 

waltky

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It fell inna ocean...
:cool:
NASA: Satellite has fallen to Earth
23 Sept.`11 WASHINGTON (AP) – NASA's dead six-ton satellite fell to Earth early Saturday morning, starting its fiery death plunge somewhere over the vast Pacific Ocean.
Details were still sketchy, but the U.S. Air Force's Joint Space Operations Center and NASA say that the bus-sized satellite first penetrated Earth's atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. That doesn't necessarily mean it all fell into the sea. NASA's calculations had predicted that the former climate research satellite would fall over a 500-mile swath. The two government agencies say the 35-foot satellite fell sometime between 11:23 p.m. ET Friday and 1:09 a.m. ET Saturday. NASA said it didn't know the precise time or location yet.

Some 26 pieces of the satellite — representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal — were expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the Skylab space station and the more than Pegasus 2 satellite, both in 1979. Russia's 135-ton Mir space station slammed through the atmosphere in 2001, but it was a controlled dive into the Pacific.

Before UARS fell, no one had ever been hit by falling space junk and NASA expected that not to change. NASA put the chances that somebody somewhere on Earth would get hurt at 1-in-3,200. But any one person's odds of being struck were estimated at 1-in-22 trillion, given there are 7 billion people on the planet.

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Nasa's UARS satellite plunges over Pacific
24 September 2011 - Nasa says its six-tonne UARS satellite entered the earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean early on Saturday.
The spacecraft was expected to fall to Earth by about 0500 GMT - officials say it is not possible yet to give a precise time. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is the largest American space agency satellite to return uncontrolled into the atmosphere in about 30 years. Officials said the risk to public safety was remote. A statement on the Nasa UARS website read: "The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty."

There have been some unconfirmed reports on Twitter that suggested debris might have fallen in western Canada. Most of the decommissioned spacecraft should simply have burnt up, but modelling work indicated perhaps 500kg could have survived to the surface. Any pieces of debris should have been scattered over a 800km path; but with more than 70% of the Earth's surface covered by water, many experts said the pieces were most likely to end up in the ocean.

Stephen Cole, a Nasa spokesman in Washington DC, told BBC News: "You have to remember that they're very, very small pieces, even though the original satellite was large - as large as a bus. Most of that burns up in the atmosphere and just a few dozen pieces survive. They're highly damaged, and if they're in the ocean - they're gone." UARS was deployed in 1991 from the space shuttle Discovery on a mission to study the Earth's upper atmosphere.

It contributed important new understanding on subjects such as the chemistry of the protective ozone layer and the cooling effect volcanoes can exert on the global climate. In the past few days, Nasa warned members of the public not to touch any pieces of the spacecraft that might survive the fall to land, urging them to contact local law enforcement authorities instead. "I've seen some things that have re-entered and they tend to have sharp edges, so there's a little concern that they might hurt themselves if they try to pick them up," said Mark Matney, an orbital debris scientist from Nasa's Johnson Space Center.

More BBC News - Nasa's UARS satellite plunges over Pacific
 

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