Old ESA satellite disintegrates over the Pacific

The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that the satellite Heir ERS-2, now out of service, re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere this Wednesday over the Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Hawaii. According to the authority, no property damage was reported.

“We have confirmation of atmospheric re-entry of ERS-2 at 17:17 GMT,” with more or less a minute of uncertainty over the northern Pacific between Alaska and Hawaii, ESA notes in its report News in X.

ESA’s Space Debris Office, together with other international partners, has been monitoring the orbital degradation of this satellite and its natural re-entry into the atmosphere, where it will decay at the end of its useful life.

The decommissioned Heritage ERS-2 satellite has re-entered Earth’s atmosphere between Alaska and Hawaii and no material damage has been reported, according to ESA

When the satellite was about 80 kilometers from Earth, it began to break into pieces, and the forecast is that most of these pieces burned completely. The risks associated with the re-entry of satellites are very low, reminds the ESA.

Some small fragments may have survived, although it is too early to tell; If so, they would have fallen into the sea.

“Uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere has long been a common method for disposing of space objects at the end of their mission,” Tim Flohrer, head of ESA’s Space Debris Office, said in a statement.

According to this expert, objects similar in size or larger than ERS-2 are observed re-entering the atmosphere several times a year.

“Over the 67 years of space travel, thousands of tons of artificial space objects have re-entered the atmosphere. Parts reaching the surface have rarely caused damage and there have never been any confirmed reports of human injuries.”

Steps since 2011

ERS-2 was launched in 1995, following in the footsteps of its sister satellite ERS-1, which had launched four years earlier. According to ESA, these were the most advanced Earth observation satellites ever developed.

Over the course of their lives, both collected huge amounts of data about the retreat of polar ice, changes in the Earth’s surface, rising sea levels, warming oceans and the chemistry of the atmosphere.

In addition, they have been used to monitor natural disasters such as severe floods and earthquakes in remote locations.

ERS-2 traveled 3.8 billion kilometers over its lifetime and provided data for thousands of scientists and projects. In 2011, the agency removed the satellite and began the satellite’s controlled re-entry process.

ERS-2 traveled 3.8 billion kilometers over its lifetime and provided data for thousands of scientists and projects

This reduced its altitude from around 785 kilometers to 573 kilometers in order to minimize the risk of a collision with other satellites; It was also ensured that all batteries and pressure systems were emptied or secured and that electronic systems were switched off.

This limited the risk of an internal failure that would cause the satellite to break into pieces while still at an altitude used by active satellites.

After 13 years of orbit deterioration, it is now time for this satellite to naturally (uncontrolled) enter the atmosphere and disintegrate, which is what happened this Wednesday.

ERS-2 traveled 3.8 billion kilometers over its lifetime. / THE

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Exit mobile version