A large satellite returns to Earth without the possibility of determining when and where it will fall

A “dead” European satellite is preparing to return to Earth later this month, which will be closely monitored by experts.

The satellite is the European Remote Sensing Satellite ERS-2 of the European Space Agency, which was launched into Earth orbit in April 1995 and completed its Earth observation mission in September 2011, the European Space Agency used its fuel tank at 785 km. According to officials of the European Space Agency, about 573 km to significantly reduce the risk of collision with other satellites or space debris and ensure a return to Earth's atmosphere within the next fifteen years.

According to the agency, ERS-2 is “the most advanced Earth observation spacecraft ever developed and launched by Europe.”

University of Warwick astrophysicist Dr. Minjae Kim said the satellite is equipped with advanced radar instruments that are “priceless” and used to monitor natural disasters.

At take-off, it weighed 2,516 kg and now, without fuel, it weighs approximately 2,294 kg.

ESA officials said about the same mass of material enters Earth's atmosphere every week or two on average.

It is noteworthy that every year there are thousands of failed lunar landing craft and asteroids that land on Earth. The weight of these meteorites usually ranges from 50 grams to 10 kg.

Kim added: “Although most of it comes in the form of dust or small particles that we cannot see, space rocks about 10 meters wide, equivalent to the 11.8 meter ERS-2 satellite, are expected to enter the Earth's atmosphere. “Every six to 10 years.”

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He continued: “Massive objects are rarely a threat to civilization, which only happens once in a few million years.”

It is too early to predict where and when ERS-2 will hit Earth's atmosphere. The satellite will disintegrate when it reaches an altitude of about 80 km, and ERS-2 will burn up in Earth's atmosphere, leaving no debris that could impact or cause damage to Earth.

If there is debris, there is a high probability that it will end up in the ocean, since 70% of the Earth is covered by water.

Dr. Kim explained: “As for the ERS-2 satellite, it is unlikely to pose a threat during its return, especially since it is specially designed to reduce the chance of fragmentation. When it descends into the Earth's lower atmosphere, it is expected to burn up completely, although it “cannot accurately predict the course of its uncontrolled return.” .

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