Friday, September 23, 2011

UARS May Fall on US Tonight

UARS projected reentry -Aerospace Corp
Sept 27 NASA Update
The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California determined the satellite entered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude (170.2 west longitude). The satellite broke apart and continued falling and traveling for another 300 miles to the northeast, with about 26 larger metal parts from the bus-sized satellite falling over a 500-mile span.4
Sept 25 NASA Update:  
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. Sept. 24, 20 years and nine days after its launch on a 14-year mission that produced some of the first long-term records of chemicals in the atmosphere. 
The precise re-entry time and location of debris impacts have not been determined. During the re-entry period, the satellite passed from the east coast of Africa over the Indian Ocean, then the Pacific Ocean, then across northern Canada, then across the northern Atlantic Ocean, to a point over West Africa. The vast majority of the orbital transit was over water, with some flight over northern Canada and West Africa.

Despite NASA’s assurances only yesterday that it’s doomed UARS satellite would miss North America when it falls to Earth, today’s predictions put the US only 30 minutes away from ground zero.

Aerospace Corporation’s latest projection show UARS reentering over central Africa on Sept 24 at 03:16 UTC (Sept 23, 23:16 EDT), with an uncertainty is plus or minus 5 hours.

Only 30 minutes before the predicted reentry time the tumbling satellite will have made a low pass across North America from near Los Angeles to the Dakota’s and eastern Canada. Within plus or minus two hours of the projected reentry time UARS actually makes three passes over parts of North America.

While there’s very little danger that the falling space junk will hit anyone, it could make for a great light show if it reenters over land. 

Stay tuned.