September 21, 2011

Six ton UARS satellite to hit surface of the earth

The major portion of the 5.7 metric tonne satellite is due for re-entry on the 23 or 24 September 2011 (UT). The majority of this satellite will burn up on re-entry, however there will be fall-out from this satellite. The track over which the debris will fall is around 800 kilometers (500 miles).

The inclination of this orbit is identical to the International Space Station - any region which can have a direct fly-over of the ISS has a chance of the re-entry taking place over it.

Predicting re-entry of any object is difficult, as an example; a recent solar flare caused the space station to rapidly loose 30km in altitude (over and above its normal decay rate).

Depending on the F10.7 levels (and therefore air density) and the orientation of the decaying satellite, the current best estimate is only a range at this stage - 23 September 2011 20:36 UT +/- 20 hours


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