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NASA satellite breaks up in plunge to Earth

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Reuters
Sept 24, 2011

A six-tones NASA science satellite plunged through the atmosphere early on Saturday, breaking up and possibly scattering debris in Canada, NASA said.

There were reports on Twitter of debris falling over Okotoks, a town south of Calgary in western Canada, most likely the remains of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, which had been in orbit for 20 years.

Scientists were unable to pinpoint the exact time and place where UARS would return to Earth due to the satellite’s unpredictable tumbles as it plowed through the upper atmosphere. Re-entry was believed to have occurred between 11:45 p.m. EDT on Friday and 12:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday.

Stretching 35 feet long and 15 feet in diameter, UARS was among the largest spacecraft to plummet uncontrollably through the atmosphere, although it is a slim cousin to NASA’s 75-tonnes skylab station, which crashed to Earth in 1979.

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This article was posted: Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 4:06 am





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