In case you’ve wondered about the 26 chunks of debris totaling 1,170 pounds from the ‘UARS’ satellite that are due to fall from the sky plus-or-minus a day from Friday September 23, here is a list of all 26 pieces that NASA says will survive the burn-up re-entry through the atmosphere and have a 1 in 3200 chance of hitting someone – which will most certainly end their life.
Details of the UARS satellite debris to hit the Earth
(1) HGA gimbal and reten. (Titanium) 59 pounds impacting at 99 miles per hour
(4) Forward bulkhead fitting (Titanium) 55 pounds impacting at 177 miles per hour
(1) SSPP gimball (Titanium) 134 pounds impacting at 130 miles per hour
(1) SSPP structure (AL-2024-T8) 348 pounds impacting at 99 miles per hour
(4) MMS fuel tanks (Titanium) 11 pounds impacting at 59 miles per hour
(3) MMS MPS batteries (SSteel 304L) 101 pounds impacting at 146 miles per hour
(4) Reaction wheel rims (SSteel 304L) 4 pounds impacting at 240 miles per hour
(1) FSS housing (Beryllium) 7 pounds impacting at 175 miles per hour
(2) FHST bracket (Beryllium) 2 pounds impacting at 40 miles per hour
(2) G.F. abutment plate (Titanium) 4 pounds impacting at 30 miles per hour
(2) G.F. base plate (Titanium) 11 pounds impacting at 81 miles per hour
(1) G.F. extension (Titanium) 1 pound impacting at 47 miles per hour
How could you possibly prepare for such an event? Although the odds are slim that you’ll get pelted on the head (1 in 3,200), unless you’re underground, most of the debris chunks could easily slice through the roof of most any typical building or structure at 100 miles per hour, more or less…
Update, Friday, September 23
(space.com) A huge, dead satellite tumbling to Earth is falling slower than expected, and may now plummet down somewhere over the United States tonight or early Saturday, despite forecasts that it would miss North America entirely, NASA officials now say.
“The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent.”
Update, Sat, 24 Sep 2011 08:37:25 AM PDT
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States. The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.
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