NASA satellite crashed on Earth after 38 years of orbiting our planet

A 5,400-pound NASA satellite that has spent almost the past four decades orbiting Earth sank in a blaze of glory over the weekend. A research satellite called the Earth Radiation Balance Satellite (ERBS) was launched from the Space Shuttle Challenger on October 5, 1984 to collect data on solar energy absorbed by the Earth and radiated back into space to help researchers learn more about the health of the climate. and weather conditions. . The spacecraft operated beyond its expected service life of two years before retiring in 2005.

During its first 21 years in orbit, the spacecraft used three instruments to measure stratospheric concentrations of ozone, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols. Measurements made during the Stratospheric Aerosols and Gases Experiment II (SAGE II) at ERBS confirmed ozone depletion and helped shape the 1987 Montreal Protocol Agreement, an international agreement limiting the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons worldwide. NASA press release.

The disabled spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska at 11:04 p.m. Sunday, the Department of Defense confirmed. NASA said in a statement that “most of the satellite was expected to burn up during its journey through the atmosphere, but some components will survive re-entry.”

The video, filmed by a resident of Nightmute, a village on the Bering Sea coast, shows the spacecraft meeting its fiery end as it plummets into the atmosphere. The space agency has estimated the chance of falling debris hurting someone or causing any damage to be 1 in 9400. However, NASA said there were no reports of injury or damage from falling debris.

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