Satellite To Fall Back To Earth This Week - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Satellite To Fall Back To Earth This Week

CNN.COM - A NASA satellite is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere on or around  Friday, September 23, according to NASA officials on Monday.

Re-entry of NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was originally expected in late September or early October 2011, almost six years after its mission was complete.

"As of Sept. 18, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 133 mi by 149 mi (215 km by 240 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day," NASA wrote Monday  in an update.

The satellite will break into pieces during re-entry, and not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere. The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, NASA says.

"Since the beginning of the Space Age in the late-1950s, there have been no confirmed reports of an injury resulting from re-entering space objects. Nor is there a record of significant property damage resulting from a satellite re-entry," NASA says.

UARS is 35 feet long, 15 feet in diameter, and weighs 13,000 pounds, according to the satellite's website.

NASA advises that if you find something that may be a piece of UARS, do not touch it and contact local law enforcement.

UARS was originally launched in 1991 and was decommissioned in 2005 after completing its mission. The satellite measured chemical compounds found in the ozone layer, wind and temperature in the stratosphere, and the energy input from the sun, according to NASA.

You can track the movements of UARS here.

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