International Astronomy Centre: Large European satellite to fall to Earth next week

The International Astronomical Center expected a large satellite to fall to Earth next Wednesday, February 21, 2024. It is called a European satellite. (ERS-2)It was launched on April 21, 1995, and is used for remote sensing purposes. It was decommissioned on July 4, 2011 at the end of its lifespan and has been floating in space ever since. The European Space Agency used the fuel. In July and August 2011, it had 66 more ways to lower its orbit from an altitude of 785 km to 573 km to reduce the chances of collisions with other satellites. , the moon would have been in space for another 100 or 200 years..

Engineer Muhammad Shaukat Ode, director of the International Astronomical Centre, supervisor of the satellite fall monitoring program, said: “The fall of this satellite will be uncontrolled and is expected to occur on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at 12:10 PM GMT, with a plus magnitude error.” Minus 27 hours, and the size of this great error decreases as the date of fall approaches, but two hours before fall, it does not. The exact place and time of its fall can be known.

Shavkat added: “There will be areas where the satellite may fall, and multiple parties will be closely monitoring the fall and updates will be provided in time. The attached map shows the current expected location of the fall, and the green and red lines show where the satellite will pass.” Ten hours before and after the expected drop date.

He continued: “The weight of the satellite is 2.3 thousand kilograms, its length is 12 meters, its width is 12 meters, two solar panels, its height is 2.4 meters, it is noteworthy that the satellite did not fall. As it enters Earth's atmosphere, intense heat from friction does work.” Typically 20 to 40% of the initial mass reaches Earth to disintegrate the Moon and burn up large parts of it. Some fragments can survive and reach Earth.

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Odeh pointed out that experts expect the fallout to pose a very low percentage of direct risk to the lives of people or facilities, as the mass of the largest debris reaching the ground is expected to be around 52 kilograms and the probability of debris. Colliding with a person is only 1 in 100 billion! “A person is 1.5 million times less likely to die in their home due to an accident, 65,000 times less likely than a person to be struck by lightning, and three times less likely than a person to be struck by a meteorite.”

He stressed that the fallout was not considered too rare, as satellite falls of similar mass occur almost every month, and there have been recent falls of satellites larger than this fallout, notably three involving remnants of Chinese missiles. times in the last three years, April 2021, July 2022 and October 2022.

Shaukat pointed out that all satellites orbiting the Earth in low orbits (less than 1,000 km) fall towards the Earth due to constant friction with the atmosphere. About 70% of the fall of useful satellites is uncontrolled, that is, it falls at an unspecified time and place. Only 30% of satellite fallouts are controlled, and this is limited to large satellites or those carrying hazardous materials. Since the percentage of water on Earth is about 70%, the probability of debris from a satellite falling on Earth is only about 30%..

It is noteworthy that the International Astronomical Center launched an international project several years ago, in which interested people from different countries of the world participate to monitor the fall of satellites on Earth. The international project is supervised by four experts, among whom he worked first. He was in charge of launching rockets for the American space agency NASA for more than forty years. and determining their orbits since the 1960s. A third person specializes in predicting the dates of satellites falling to Earth. A fourth person is the director of the International Astronomical Centre..

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