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INCOMING! Keep your eyes on the skies.

UARS satellite: New images of tumbling US spacecraft

By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website    

An amateur astronomer has recorded images of the out-of-control US satellite as it tumbles back to Earth.

Theirry Legault, from Paris, captured the video as the satellite passed over northern France on 15 September.

The six-tonne, 20-year-old spacecraft has fallen out of orbit and is expected to crash somewhere on Earth on or around 24 September.

The US space agency says the risk to life from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is 1 in 3,200.

UARS could land anywhere between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator - most of the populated world.
Nasa says that most of the satellite will break or burn up before reaching Earth.

But scientists have identified 26 separate pieces that could survive the fall through the atmosphere. This debris could rain across an area 400-500km (250-310 miles) wide.

Robust, spherical satellite components such as fuel tanks are often most likely to survive the fiery plunge to Earth, say space experts.

Nasa said scientists would only be able to make more accurate predictions about where the satellite might land two hours before it enters the Earth's atmosphere.

UARS is one of the biggest American satellites to make an uncontrolled re-entry in more than 30 years. However, the Skylab space station, which also made an uncontrolled plunge through the atmosphere in 1979, was about 15 times heavier than the tumbling satellite.

Experts say that a recent expansion in the Earth's atmosphere due to heating by ultraviolet radiation has been causing UARS to fall to Earth faster than expected. The expansion increases the atmospheric drag on satellites in space, hastening re-entry.

The US satellite was deployed in 1991 from the space shuttle Discovery on a mission to study the make-up of Earth's atmosphere, particularly its protective ozone layer.

Nasa has warned members of the public not to touch any pieces of the spacecraft which may survive the re-entry, urging them to contact local law enforcement authorities.

Source, and link to still photos and video:

Hopin' for a night re-entry onto the high desert.

Re-entering will be quite a sight. I heard a little snippit from the news that one person has been it with a falling satellite piece, and it was a piece of mesh. Supposedly the ONLY person that has been hit.

NASA's falling satellite slows " and now could hit US - Re-entry time frame shifts too, and it may not crash until late Friday or Saturday

By Tariq Malik

A huge, dead satellite tumbling to Earth is falling slower than expected, and may now plummet down somewhere over the United States tonight or early Saturday....

"The satellite's orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent," NASA officials wrote in a morning status update today....

NASA expects about 26 large pieces of the UARS spacecraft to survive re-entry through Earth's atmosphere and reach the planet's surface. The biggest piece should weigh about 300 pounds....

NASA officials have said the the chances that a piece of UARS debris hits and injures one of the nearly 7 billion people on the planet are about 1 in 3,200....

As of 10:30 a.m. EDT Friday, the UARS satellite was flying in an orbit of about 100 miles by 105 miles, and dropping....

"Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time," NASA officials wrote....
Charts, graphs, photos and more:

Too bad it's raining here, I would love to see it.

Six-ton UARS spacecraft is gone; experts can't pinpoint exact location staff and news service reports
Sept 24, 2011

-------- excerpts --------
After days of worldwide suspense, NASA declared Saturday that its six-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite came apart during a fiery fall over the Pacific Ocean.

The space agency said the decommissioned spacecraft fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. ET Friday and 1:09 a.m. ET Saturday.

NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said the Joint Space Operations Center, headquartered at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, reported that the satellite entered the atmosphere over the Pacific.

"Precise time and locale aren't yet known," he added in a Twitter update.

Hours after the satellite's demise, it was still occasionally hard to separate the truth from the fakery.
There were multiple reports of fireballs and bright debris being sighted over Canada, but one of those reports turned out to be a "War of the Worlds" - which led Jacobs to complain on Twitter about "a lot of hoax data and false info going viral."...

The projected time of re-entry was pushed later and later during the satellite's final hours. "It just doesn't want to come down," said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. McDowell said the satellite's delayed demise demonstrates how unreliable predictions can be.

Until Friday, increased solar activity was causing the atmosphere to expand and the 35-foot, bus-size satellite to free fall more quickly..

"In the last 24 hours, something has happened to the spacecraft," said NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the post-Apollo 75-ton Skylab space station and the more than 10-ton Pegasus 2 satellite, both in 1979.

Russia's 135-ton Mir space station slammed through the atmosphere in 2001, but that was a controlled dive into the Pacific.

This was one of the last - possibly the last - uncontrolled crash of the big'uns whose pieces will survive their descents.  

In recent years all the large satellites have built in controlled dive devices which activate when their orbits begin to decay - like the Mir in 2001.  (There are override capabilities which can be activated to weaponize the falling debris from some of the large satellites).

Most of the 20,000+ orbiting man-made objects - everything 4" long or longer - which are constantly tracked are a danger to other space objects and the manned space station, not to people on the ground, as they will be burnt up upon eventual reentry.

According to FOX it crashed into the Pacific.

The two government agencies say the 35-foot satellite fell sometime between 11:23 p.m. EDT and 1:09 a.m. EDT. NASA said it didn't know the precise time or location yet

And we expect these idiot to protect us against a Nuclear attack?

If I worked at NASA and the other federal agencies tracking that thing I would be embarrassed.  

Last year the Chinese shot down a piece of space junk and our government can't even track a dead satellite.


Last year the Chinese shot down a piece of space junk and our government can't even track a dead satellite.

look on the bright side.
if you bought a pair of levis last week the government knows exactly where you are.

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