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Falling Satellite To Miss America, Look Out Canada, Africa, And Australia

September 23, 2011

Here we go…final hours……

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, NASA posted an update that said the satellite, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, was expected to re-enter between 11 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday.

“During that time, the satellite will be passing over Canada, Africa and Australia, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans,” the update said. A day earlier, NASA had said it expected re-entry on Friday afternoon.

“The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed,” the space agency said in an earlier update. Perhaps some piece had broken off, leaving it more streamlined as it tumbled through the upper atmosphere. “That is now slowing its descent,” NASA said.

The satellite, which weighs six tons, circles the Earth on a tilted orbit, and as the planet turns each day, different locations pass underneath.

At least 26 pieces, the largest at 330 pounds, are expected to survive the plunge and land along a path 500 miles long.

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