On Saturday, Sept. 25, NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) landed on Earth. The only problem is that no one knows where it landed exactly, not even NASA!
Reported to be the biggest crash of a NASA satellite since 1979, NASA experts claim that the debris from the satellite fell into the Pacific Ocean.
Using radars and optical senors, which are located at 25 locations worldwide, the data regarding dead satellites are collected. Except in this case, where the radars and senors were unable to track the fallen satellite.
Chief orbital debris scientist of NASA, Nick Johnson, states that “One of the ways you find out a satellite is no longer in orbit is you have sensors in the Space Surveillance Network go look for it, and if they don’t find it then it has re-entered.”
The UARS, which weighed over 13,000 pounds, was sent into orbit to study the ozone and other chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere.
According to a statement given by NASA on Saturday, the dead UARS fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. Sept. 24, 20 years and nine days after its launch on a 14-year mission that provided some of the first long-term records of chemicals in the atmosphere.”
The re-entry time and the location of impact of the fallen debris have yet to be determined. NASA and the Joint Space Operations are still in the process of investigating the fall of the satellite.
Coverage of the fallen NASA satellite before it fell can be viewed using the media player below.