NASA’s 38-year-old satellite is about to hit the Earth’s surface and according to the space agency, the chances of wreckage falling on anybody is very low as most of the part (2,450-kilogram) of the satellite will burn up upon re-entry. However, there are chances of some components surviving the fall.
According to the American space agency, there is a 1-in-9,400 chance of someone being hurt by the falling debris. The Defense Department predicts that the satellite will come down Sunday night, taking 17 hours. The Aerospace based in California is aiming for Monday morning, give or take 13 hours, and will pass Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the western most regions of North and South America.
The name of the satellite is Earth Radiation Budget or ERBS and it was launched aboard space shuttle Challenger in1984. In spite of its expected lifespan of two years, ERBS continued to measure ozone and other atmospheric variables until its retirement in 2005. The satellite studied how Earth absorbs and radiates energy from the sun.
The satellite received a special dispatch from Challenger. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, used the shuttle’s robot arm to launch the satellite into orbit. American geoscientist Kathryn Sullivan also made history on that same mission when she completed the country’s first space walk. It was the first time two female astronauts travelled in orbit together.