September 23, 2011
North America Safe From Impact Of Satellite
NASA said on Friday that its Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will most likely miss North America.
Scientists have still not pinpointed exactly where the 13,000-pound satellite is going to end up.
The space agency said the odds of a piece of debris striking a person are about 1-in-3,200. Scientists predict 26 pieces of debris will survive Earth's atmosphere, weighing a total of 1,100 pounds.
UARS will re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime Friday afternoon, but NASA was certain North America would not get to see the show.
"The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 36 hours."
UARS was launched in 1991 to help measure the ozone layer, wind and temperature. The satellite was officially decommissioned in 2005 after it suffered from being struck by a small piece of debris.
The satellite has been orbiting 140-miles above the Earth´s surface from 57 degrees north latitude to 57 degrees south latitude.
Image Caption: This conceptual image shows the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, launched on Sept. 15, 1991, by the space shuttle Discovery. Originally designed for a three-year mission, UARS measured chemical compounds found in the ozone layer, wind and temperature in the stratosphere, as well as the energy input from the sun. Together, these measurements helped define the role of Earth's upper atmosphere in climate and climate variability. The 35-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter UARS was decommissioned on Dec. 14, 2005. Credit: NASA
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