Old NASA satellite falling from the sky this weekend, low threat


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (TBEN) — A 38-year-old retired NASA satellite is about to fall from the sky.

NASA said Friday that the chances of wreckage falling on anyone are “very low.” According to NASA, most of the 5,400-pound (2,450-kilogram) satellite will burn up upon reentry. But some pieces are expected to survive.

The space agency estimated the chance of injury from falling debris to be about 1 in 9,400.

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The science satellite is expected to come down Sunday night, about 5 p.m., according to the Department of Defense.

California-based Aerospace Corp. however, focuses on Monday morning, about 1 p.m., along a track that crosses Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the westernmost areas of the Americas.

The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, known as ERBS, was launched in 1984 aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Although its expected lifespan was two years, the satellite continued to take ozone and other atmospheric measurements until its retirement in 2005. The satellite studied how the Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the sun.

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The satellite received a special broadcast from Challenger. America’s first woman in space, Sally Ride, launched the satellite into orbit using the shuttle’s robotic arm. That same mission also included the first spacewalk by an American woman: Kathryn Sullivan. It was the first time two female astronauts had flown together in space.

It was the second and last space flight for Ride, who died in 2012.

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The The Bharat Express News Health and Science division is supported by the Science and Educational Media Group of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The TBEN is solely responsible for all content.