Defunct NASA Satellite To Crash Back To Earth

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 08, 2023 - 11:00 PM

A defunct NASA science satellite is predicted to reenter Earth's atmosphere and 'mostly' burn up upon reentry. The space agency claims that the 5,400-pound (2,450-kilogram) satellite has a low risk of causing harm on the ground. 

NASA wrote in a press release the retired Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) is expected to reenter Earth's atmosphere around 6:40 p.m. EST today, with an uncertainty window of +/- 17 hours. Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded nonprofit organization, has been tracking ERBS. It predicts the satellite could crash back to Earth around 10:49 p.m. Monday.

"The risk of harm coming to anyone on Earth is very low," NASA said, "approximately 1 in 9,400," adding "most of the satellite" will burn up upon reentry, but some pieces could survive and reach the surface. 

NASA launched ERBS in 1984 on the Space Shuttle Challenger. The satellite was expected to survive only two years, though it kept measuring stratospheric ozone, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols until 2005. 

Aerospace Corporation expects ERBS to track over the westernmost areas of North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia during reentry. 

NASA's crashing space junk comes as the space agency made a big fuss about Chinese rockets uncontrollably entering the atmosphere last year.