NASA has confirmed that the decommissioned
UARS weather satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere somewhere over
the Pacific Ocean. There are no reports of it landing on anyone.
The decommissioned UARS weather satellite has landed – albeit in a number of pieces.
to BBC radio at 4am ET, NASA spokesman Steve Cole said the satellite
had re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere "somewhere over the Pacific
Ocean.” The precise location is not yet known.
NASA posted a message
on its Twitter feed at 3.30am ET saying: "We can now confirm that #UARS
is down! Debris fell to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23,
and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.”
There had been reports of parts of it landing in Okotoks, a town south of Calgary in western Canada, but these are unconfirmed.
to now there are no reports of it landing on anyone. That’s good news.
Statisticians had said there was a 1-in-3,200 chance that the six-ton
satellite, or a part of it, could land on someone.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) had been up in space since 1991 although it’s been out of action since 2005.
not yet clear how much of the 10-meter-long satellite burned up on
re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, and over how wide an area the debris
has landed. Cole told the BBC he believed up to 90 percent of the
satellite would have burned up on re-entry.
According to a BBC report
on Friday, experts had been predicting that the less robust parts of
the satellite, such as the solar array and antennas, would be torn off
fairly early on in its descent.
As the satellite gathered speed
during its fall, it would have heated up dramatically, causing
low-temperature materials to melt and vaporise. Components that have
probably made it to the Earth’s surface include high-temperature metals
like stainless steel, titanium and beryllium.
NASA has stated that
if anyone finds a piece of the satellite, they should not touch it and
instead contact local law enforcement authorities. But if all the bits
and pieces landed in the Pacific, it’s a safe bet no one will be seeing
UARS ever again.