Technically it’s not a satellite any more
In the right hand side bar I have posted the NASA feeds of the latest updates concerning the UARS satellite’s fall from orbit. If you were too busy digging your bomb shelter to hear the latest, the satellite is going to miss North America – probably.
Thu, 22 Sep 2011 06:44:51 AM CDT
As of 7 a.m. EDT Sept. 22, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 115 mi by 120 mi (185 km by 195 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time. 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.
Here is a NASA video on the original mission:
Does anyone find it ironic that NASA is polluting the upper atmosphere with a disintegrating satellite? They could have named it “Schrödinger’s Cat.”
By the way, what else is up there is a real problem.
Dead satellites, exhausted booster stages, metal fragments–even tools dropped by astronauts–and more all contribute to the cloud of potentially deadly debris. The problem is that in orbit, objects are moving around 4.5 miles per second, which means even the smallest item can pack a tremendous wallop if a spaceship collides with it—a space shuttle once wound up with a half-inch ding in one of its super-strong windows because of a collision with a paint chip an eighth of an inch across.
As long as we’re continuing a theme…