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Defunct satellite fell in south Pacific, not Canada: NASA
Posted On: Sep 28, 2011
An artistic illustration of Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.
The dead NASA satellite fell into what might be the ideal spot part of the south Pacific Ocean about as far from large land masses as you can get, US space officials have said.
New US Air Force calculations put the 6-ton satellite’s death plunge early Saturday thousands of kilometres from northwestern North America, where there were reports of sightings.
Instead, it plunged into areas where remote islands dot a vast ocean.
NASA says those new calculations show the 20-year-old satellite entered Earth’s atmosphere generally above American Samoa.
But falling debris as it broke apart did not start hitting the water for another 480 kilometres to the northeast, southwest of Christmas Island.
Experts believe about two dozen metal pieces from the bus-sized satellite fell over an 800-kilometre span.
“It’s a relatively uninhabited portion of the world, very remote,” NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney said. “This is certainly a good spot in terms of risk.”
Scientists who track space junk could not be happier with the result.
“That’s the way it should be. I think that’s perfect,” said Bill Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corp. “It’s just as good as it gets.”
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