The ERS-2 satellite is scheduled to reenter Earth’s atmosphere

The ERS-2 satellite is scheduled to reenter Earth’s atmosphere

www (nasa world map credits)
Photo: @imaginima | iStock

Nearly 30 years after its launch, the European Space Agency (ESA) is closely monitoring the descent of the ERS-2 satellite as it hurtles into Earth’s atmosphere.

The satellite, which was launched in 1995, is expected to break up upon re-entering the atmosphere, with most of its fragments burning up. Despite the anticipation surrounding this event, the exact time and location of reentry remain uncertain due to the unpredictable nature of solar activity.

When will the satellite return to Earth?

According to the latest forecast released by the European Space Agency on Monday, the satellite is believed to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at around 11:14 a.m. on Wednesday. However, there is a window of uncertainty up to 15 hours before or after the expected time, due to solar fluctuations.

In preparation for this event, the European Space Agency has been closely monitoring ERS-2 and recently released images showing its descent into the atmosphere. These images, taken between January 14 and February 3, provide a visual look at the satellite’s journey as it approaches its inevitable return.

What has happened since the original launch?

Since its launch, ERS-2 has been a vital asset to Earth observation, providing valuable data on various aspects of the planet’s environment.

Thanks to its advanced technology, the satellite has contributed to our understanding of atmospheric chemistry, ocean behavior, and the impact of human activity on the environment.

The satellite does not pose a great danger

As ERS-2 approached its final descent, its altitude dropped significantly, from more than 300 to about 200 kilometers. The satellite is currently descending at a speed of more than 10 kilometers per day, and its descent is rapidly accelerating.

Once it reaches an altitude of about 80 kilometers, the satellite will begin to disintegrate, eventually disintegrating and burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.

While some fragments may survive the return process, the European Space Agency stresses that they are not expected to pose any significant risk, as they will likely fall into the ocean rather than populated areas.

The European Space Agency decided to deorbit ERS-2 after 16 years of operation. By using the remaining fuel on board, the satellite’s altitude was reduced from 785 km to 573 km, significantly reducing the risk of collision with other objects in space. This deliberate deorbit shortened the satellite’s time in orbit after the end of its mission from more than 100 years to less than 15 years.

As ERS-2 approaches its expected return to Earth’s atmosphere, ESA continues to monitor its descent and provide updates on the situation.

While uncertainties remain about the exact timing and location of reentry, the agency assures the public that the risks associated with satellite reentry are minimal.

Editor Recommended Articles

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *