NASA’s 38-year-old science satellite falls safely to Earth

NASA agency 38 years old, a satellite died He returned to Earth without incident. The Ministry of Defense has it has been confirmed that the Earth’s Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) re-entered the atmosphere off the coast of Alaska at 11:04 p.m. EDT on Jan. 8. There are no reports of damage or injuries, to me the News agency. It wasn’t surprising when NASA said there was a 1 in 9,400 chance of someone being injured, but remarkable when officials said there was a chance some parts could survive a dive.

ERBS had a storied life. She traveled on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984, and was a pioneering female astronaut Sally Ride Put them into orbit using Canadarm robots. the crew Kathryn Sullivan He performed the first spacewalk by an American woman during that mission. The satellite was only expected to collect ozone data for two years, but was shut down only in 2005 – after more than two decades. The spacecraft helped scientists understand how Earth absorbs and radiates solar energy.

You may not see much older equipment fall to the ground in the coming decades. The FCC recently proposed a five years operates locally owned satellites that are not in geostationary orbits. Current guidelines suggest deorbiting within 25 years. While there may be concessions for exceptional cases, future satellites such as ERBS (which were in a non-synchronous orbit) could degenerate long before they were reduced to space junk.

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