NASA’s retired satellite OGO-1 to return this weekend after 56 years

By: |
August 29, 2020 4:38 PM

NASA’s satellite-Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1 spacecraft (OGO-1) that was launched into space in September 1964 will soon be entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

The satellite was sent to help NASA have more clarity on Earth’s magnetic environment and its interaction with the sun while orbiting around it.

NASA’s satellite-Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1 spacecraft (OGO-1) that was launched into space in September 1964 will soon be entering the Earth’s atmosphere. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the satellite will be retiring and will be breaking upon our atmosphere during the weekend. In a release, NASA said that OGO-1 is expected to “re-enter on one of its next three perigees,” which are the points in the spacecraft’s orbit closest to Earth which will lead to its entrance in the atmosphere on Saturday. The satellite is likely to enter over the South Pacific region. It is to note that the satellite was sent to help NASA have more clarity on Earth’s magnetic environment and its interaction with the sun while orbiting around it.

“OGO-1 operated and returned scientific data for five years until 1969, after which point the spacecraft was placed in standby mode when scientists were unable to return any more data,” NASA said in the release. The satellite was decommissioned two years later in 1971. After then, the OGO-1 revolved on a highly elliptical orbit. It has been orbiting since then and completes its trajectory around Earth in two days—which will now stop as the satellite retires.

In the 1960s, around five satellites were sent to space and all of them had retired other than OGO-1 (making it last to retire). These satellites when they entered the Earth’s atmosphere, their debris landed in various parts of the ocean. Last satellite was retired in 2011. According to NASA, spacecraft breaks in the atmosphere and when they fall, it does not pose any threat. “This is a normal final operational occurrence for retired spacecraft,” noted NASA.

The forecast has been predicted by the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) and the University of Hawaii’s Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) as they spotted an object on an impact trajectory, which was later identified as OGO-1.

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