6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

Summary: Update: Nasa's UARS satellite is expected to fall back to Earth late Friday or early Saturday with a spectacular display.

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NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Credit:NASA

Update 9:19 a.m. PDT: NASA says that reentry of its UARS satellite is now expected late Friday, Sept. 3, or early Saturday morning, Sept. 4 EDT. A last minute change in its orientation makes it unlikely that it would hit the United States.

Even with last-minute updates from NASA and US Strategic Command pinpointing when and where the Upper Atmosphere Research (UARS) satellite will begin its final plunge into the Earth's atmosphere, the sheer size of the planet, with its vast stretches of ocean and remote terrain, means the odds of catching a glimpse — or of being anywhere near any falling debris — will be remote.

The UARS re-entry "is nothing to be particularly worried about, and if you're very lucky and in the right place at the right time, you may see quite a nice little fireworks show from it. But it's highly improbable that you'll get even that much out of it", said Ted Molczan, a well-known satellite watcher whose computer analysis and predictions have helped sophisticated hobbyists around the world track down spy satellites and other challenging targets.

The 6.3-ton UARS, launched from the space shuttle Discovery in 1991 and decommissioned in 2005, is expected to fall back into the dense lower atmosphere sometime on Friday. The bus-size spacecraft will tumble, break apart and mostly burn up on the way down. But a Nasa analysis using software designed to evaluate satellite decays indicates 26 chunks of debris, the largest weighing 330 pounds or so, likely will survive atmospheric friction to hit the ground somewhere along a 500-mile track downrange of the entry point.

For more on this story, read Spotting UARS re-entry will require patience -- and lots of luck on CBS News.

Topic: Networking

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16 comments
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  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

    Chicken Little
    bike54
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    Actually the Earth is reclaiming some of its stolen goods.
    andreu911
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    Wear your hard hats!
    radesousa
    • Long as its not the moon whose orbit is decaying

      @radesousa Long as its not the moon whose orbit is decaying. Those are some stolen goods we might not want back at terminal velocity!
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    Hmmmm, if only NASA scientists could control the descent and direct it to fall on an Iranian nuclear facility, or an Al-Qaeda/Jihadist training camp...OOPS! Seriously, would it be so bad if a certain North Korean presidential palace was to be the impact site? Sorry, Kim...tough luck!
    Rickyc111
    • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

      @Rickyc111 Iran can't put gas in its cars but somehow has a nuclear facility? Iran is no threat to the U.S.A. end of story. Al-Quaeda/Jihadist???/ wouldn't be an issue if we were not over there killing so many civilians on a daily bases.. Do your homework - its called Blowback -
      jamesbhevans@...
      • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

        @jamesbhevans@... Thnx fella. The last thing we need are more warmongers. All life is precious regardless of where it is located on the planet. I often wonder how the Creator will make the USA pay its blood debt we have accumulated over the last decade. Maybe the next jet will be piloted by peeps from Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan. I hope not but who knows.
        vince7@...
      • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

        @jamesbhevans@... you doubt Iran has a nuclear facility?! Al-Quaeda Jihadist were not an issue before NATO went to where they live?! What planet are you from? Your "homework" has serious flaws - probably because you have not independently confirmed anything you read or hear from others, but just repeat it.
        joeallenrocks
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    So why is it that NASA doesn't want anyone to know exactly where this will happen? We have tracked things to the outer solar system perfectly, can put a missle through your front door, BUT we can't figure out where this satalite is going to land? Sounds like BS to me.
    ccrosby3
    • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

      @ccrosby3 ... "we can't figure out where this satalite is going to land?".. Yep. For a bunch of complex reasons being explained all over the world's news agencies for the last few weeks.
      They won't know until 2-3 hours before it hits.

      And we can't seem to spell satalite , even when given examples... (couldn't help myself, sorry)
      jrlambert
    • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

      @ccrosby3 I suppose most science sounds like BS to you.
      james.vandamme
    • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

      @ccrosby3... Yep - it's a huge conspiracy cooked up by Obama!

      I am SO sick of ignorance!
      j28n
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    "A last minute change in its orientation makes it unlikely that it would hit the United States".
    Well as long as it doesn't fall in the United States! That is the only place where people live! Ridiculous!
    rn4kids
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    UARS satellite is now expected late Friday, Sept. 3, or early Saturday morning, Sept. 4 EDT. Hasn,t this date done past?
    TBone423
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    Update 9:19 a.m. PDT: NASA says that reentry of its UARS satellite is now expected late Friday, Sept. 3, or early Saturday morning, Sept. 4 EDT. A last minute change in its orientation makes it unlikely that it would hit the United States.
    Hasn't this date already pased? just wondering
    TBone423
  • RE: 6.3-ton satellite to fall from the sky Friday

    wow seriously you would think with all the new technology they could figure out the falling tons of Garbage lol
    Lovechild2011