Research satellite could crash in SA

LazyLion

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http://www.ewn.co.za/Story.aspx?Id=74567

A five-tonne research satellite which is due to crash into earth over the next 24 hours, could likely hit South Africa.
The upper atmosphere research satellite was launched a few years back and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) estimated that it would break up into 26 pieces which would scatter over a 500 kilometre radius.
Some of the heaviest parts could weigh up to 150 kilograms falling over 300 kilometres per hour.
However, Nasa said the risk of being hit is minimal.
Wits Planetarium’s Claire Flanagan said it was difficult to tell exactly when and where the pieces would crash.
“They don’t have any control over this satellite. There are a whole bunch of people watching it as it nears earth,” she said.

LOL @ all the fear mongering! :D

yes, it could hit South Africa... but it could also hit a million other places. :D
 

luxe

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I heard them interview some PHD student at lunch time, he said it would scatter over North Africa, Europe and Asia.

So yes, also a small area.
 

porn$tar

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Pity they can't control it to make some minor renovations to Malema's house, preferably with him inside it.
 

ShaunSA

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Pity it can't be directed to hit parliament. During a full sitting :D

Mind you our politicians are never there anyways.
 

Greylor

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Given the sheer size of the area that they have said that the satellite could fall in, they may as well have said "Satellite entering Earth's atmosphere will likely land on the planet."
 

Mike43110

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Given the sheer size of the area that they have said that the satellite could fall in, they may as well have said "Satellite entering Earth's atmosphere will likely land on the planet."

Pretty much, go live at the poles, there you wil be safe. 300 km/h pieces of 150kg a piece has more than enough momentum to cause major damage to anyting it hits. The odds of one person being hurt are one in 3200, that is scary high all things being considerd. It would be amusing if it a piece hit a high rise building!
 

LazyLion

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NASA: Pieces of falling satellite may be down

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/24/us/nasa-satellite/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Miami (CNN) -- Pieces of a defunct satellite plummeting toward Earth may have come to rest, NASA said Saturday morning

NASA says "it's possible" that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite "is down by now," according to the agency's Twitter page early Saturday. But the agency said it is seeking official confirmation with the United States Strategic Command.

About two dozen pieces of the satellite were expected to survive the crash through the Earth's atmosphere.

Late Friday night, NASA predicted satellite parts would pass "over Canada and Africa, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans."

"The risk to public safety is very remote," the space agency added.

It was not immediately clear where fallen pieces may have ended up.

About 26 pieces were 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.

Earlier, NASA said "there is a low probability" surviving debris will land in the United States, but on Saturday morning the space agency tweeted, "The U.S. is very safe from (the satellite) ... It's final orbit did not cross the United States."

Mark Matney of NASA's Orbital Debris team in Houston said there's no way to know exactly where the pieces will come down.

"Keep in mind, they won't be traveling at those high orbital velocities. As they hit the air, they tend to slow down. ... They're still traveling fast, a few tens to hundreds of miles per hour, but no longer those tremendous orbital velocities," he explained.

"Part of the problem is, the spacecraft is tumbling in unpredictable ways, and it is very difficult to very precisely pinpoint where it's coming down even right before the re-entry," Matney said.

Because water covers 70% of the Earth's surface, NASA has said that most -- if not all -- of the surviving debris will land in water. Even if pieces strike dry land, there's very little risk any of it will hit people.

However, in an abundance of caution, the Federal Aviation Administration released an advisory Thursday warning pilots about the falling satellite, calling it a potential hazard.

"It is critical that all pilots/flight crew members report any observed falling space debris to the appropriate (air traffic control) facility and include position, altitude, time and direction of debris observed," the FAA statement said.

The FAA said warnings of this sort typically are sent out to pilots concerning specific hazards they may encounter during flights such as air shows, rocket launches, kites and inoperable radio navigational aids.

NASA said space debris the size of the satellite's components re-enters the atmosphere about once a year. Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell noted that the satellite is far from being the biggest space junk to come back.

"This is nothing like the old Skylab scare of the '70s, when you had a 70-ton space station crashing out of the sky. So, I agree with the folks in Houston. It's nothing to be worried about," McDowell said.

Pieces of Skylab came down in western Australia in 1979.

The only wild card McDowell sees is if somehow a chunk hits a populated area.

"If the thing happens to come down in a city, that would be bad. The chances of it causing extensive damage or injuring someone are much higher."
 

LazyLion

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Satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/uars/index.html

Update #15
Sat, 24 Sep 2011 09:46:42 AM GMT+0200

NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. 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.
 

dabbler

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Ok, so the headache I woke up with this morning couldn't have been caused by that!

Sent from my GT-I9000
 

medicnick83

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Can't it say, crash say near or on Julius' house... and he would 'accidently' be inside... ?!? :D
 

killadoob

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The 2.4-ton Rontgensatellit, or ROSAT, has been spinning aimlessly through space for 12 years after it was switched off in 1999 after its guidance system broke.

With its orbit bringing it inexorably closer to Earth, the authorities initially thought it would burn up entirely on re-entry.

However, it is now believed that pieces of space junk weighing up to 400kg could smash into the planet’s surface as early as the end of October.
 
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