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Falling Satellite Could Now Hit United States Early Saturday

September 23, 2011

Contrary to earlier reports, the United States could be in path of falling satellite.

On Friday morning, the space agency issued an update about its defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which is dropping out of the sky more slowly than anticipated.

“Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time,” NASA said. “The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent.”

A day earlier, NASA said it expected the satellite to re-enter Friday morning.

The six-ton satellite circles the Earth on a tilted orbit, and as the planet turns each day, different locations pass underneath. The satellite’s orbit on Friday afternoon will not take it over any part of North America, but by Saturday, parts of the United States will again be in its path.

“There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent,” NASA said.


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