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Monday, September 26, 2011

UARS Satellite Fell Back After Twenty Years

NASA research satellites have disabled UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) who had served for 20 years. Six years before the productive period is over, UARS has been shattered during re-entered the earth and partly burned in the atmosphere. UARS part destroyed the possibility of landing in the Pacific Ocean. There are an estimated 1200 kg UARS pieces fell to earth. However, NASA said that not aware of any injuries caused by these satellites when it returned to earth.

All components of the UARS satellite observed directly by the Joint Functional Component Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The agency is responsible for overseeing human-made objects that enter the earth.

“We extend our appreciation to the Joint Space Operations Center for monitoring UARS not only this past week but also throughout its entire 20 years on orbit,” said Nick Johnson, NASA’s chief scientist for orbital debris, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This was not an easy re-entry to predict because of the natural forces acting on the satellite as its orbit decayed. Space-faring nations around the world also were monitoring the satellite’s descent in the last two hours and all the predictions were well within the range estimated by JSpOC.”

UARS was first launched on 12 September 1991, using the space shuttle STS-48. This satellite is the first satellite to observe the various chemical components that exist in the atmosphere for further understanding of the photochemical. With the existence of these satellites, many important chemical component in the atmosphere were recorded. In addition, this satellite also measured the amount of sunlight coming into the earth. At least the data obtained can be used for long time. Officially, UARS ceased operations in 2005.

During the period 2005 to 2011 (six years), most of the UARS component burned out. The rest is estimated to spread as far as 500 miles.

Reprinted from NASA

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