A seven-ton satellite is expected to re-enter earth’s atmosphere late this month or in early October.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) might come down after almost six years, after the end of its productive scientific life.
However, there are minimal chances of it causing any significant damage to the life and property.
According to a report by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “the spacecraft will break into pieces during re-entry, not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere.”
The remaining components and the debris will land within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude. NASA estimates the debris footprint to be about 500 miles long.
The report says that until Sep. 7, 2011, the orbit was 155 miles by 174 miles with an inclination of 57 degrees to the equator.
NASA says, “Safety is our top priority,” and there is very little possibility of any damage on the earth.
However, it is too early to say exactly when UARS will re-enter and what geographic area on earth could be affected.
The actual date is difficult to predict because it depends on solar flux, and the spacecraft’s orientation as its orbit decays.
NASA assures that it will update with the latest developments, within the reasonable time before UARS’ anticipated entry.