Live broadcast | A large satellite fell to Earth today

2024-02-21 2024-02-21T18:08:59Z
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Weather of Arabia - A large satellite is expected to fall to Earth today, Wednesday, February 21, 2024 AD. It is a European satellite called (ERS-2), which was launched on April 21, 1995, and was used for remote sensing purposes, and remained operational until July 4, 2011. Its lifespan ended, and it has been swimming in space ever since. In July and August 2011, the European Space Agency used the remaining fuel to perform 66 redirections to lower its orbit from an altitude of 785 km to 573 km, in order to reduce the chances of collision with other satellites. If it were not for lowering the orbit, the moon would have remained in space for another 100 or 200 years.

Live broadcast | A large satellite fell to Earth today

The fall of this satellite will be uncontrolled, and it is expected that the fall will occur on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at 12:10 PM GMT, with an error of plus or minus 27 hours. The amount of this large error will decrease as we get closer to the date of the fall, but even before the fall. In two hours, it is not possible to know the exact place and time of its fall, but there will be certain areas over which the satellite is likely to fall, and many parties will closely follow this fall, and updates will be announced immediately at the time, and the attached map shows the currently expected location of the fall and shows the green and red lines. The places that the satellite will pass over within ten hours before and after the expected fall date.

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The weight of the satellite is 2.3 thousand kilograms, its length is 12 meters, its width is 12 meters, including the two solar panels, and its height is 2.4 meters. It is worth noting that the satellite does not fall as a single piece to the Earth. When it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, the intense heat due to friction disintegrates the Moon and burns large parts of it. Usually, 20 to 40% of the initial mass reaches the Earth, and some of it usually survives. The pieces are able to reach the ground, and experts say that the percentage of this fall posing a direct danger to the lives of people or facilities is very small, as the mass of the largest remnants reaching the ground is expected to be about 52 kilograms, and the probability that the remnants collide with a person is only 1 in 100 billion. ! It represents 1.5 million times less than the probability of someone being killed inside their home due to an accident, 65,000 times less than the probability of someone being struck by a lightning bolt, and three times less than the probability of a meteorite falling on a person!

This fall is not considered extremely rare, as there are falls of satellites of similar mass that occur almost every month, and there have recently been falls of satellites larger than this fall, especially the remains of Chinese launch missiles, which occurred three times during the past three years, in April 2021 and July. 2022 and October 2022.

All satellites that orbit the Earth in low orbits (less than 1000 km) end up falling towards the Earth due to their constant friction with the atmosphere. About 70% of the fall of effective satellites is uncontrolled, that is, it falls at an unspecified time and place. While only 30% of satellite falls are controlled, this is only for large satellites or those loaded with hazardous materials. Since the percentage of water on Earth is about 70%, this means that the probability of the remnants of the satellite falling to Earth is only about 30%.

Several years ago, the International Astronomy Center established an international program in which interested people from various countries of the world participate to monitor the fall of satellites on Earth. The international program is supervised by four experts, the first of whom worked for the American space agency NASA for more than forty years, during which he was responsible for launching rockets. He is an expert in tracking satellites, especially those that fall to Earth. The second person is a specialized expert from Canada who has been following satellites and determining their orbits since the 1960s. The third person specializes in predicting the dates of satellites falling to Earth, and the fourth is the director of the International Astronomy Center.

Source: International Astronomy Center

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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