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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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European Agency’s 1360 Kilograms Satellite To Crash On Earth

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A 1360-kilogram satellite might impact the Earth as it is approaching the planet more than five years later, after it was launched into space. After coming close to the Earth’s atmosphere it will crash in an explosion. 

The space mission was an Earth Explorer research mission called Aeolus. It was done in a bid to display breakthrough space technology that became one of the biggest weather satellites with the highest effect per observation of European Space Agency (ESA)

Aeolus has been orbiting Earth at an altitude of 320 km but its tanks are running out of fuel as the Earth’s atmosphere is attracting it towards itself. On the other hand, Sun’s Plasma waves are forcing the satellite further as they wash past Earth. 

The mission will give a boost to the Aeolus-2 follow-on mission as the satellite shut down all its activity on April 30. The Aeolus-2 will be prepared by putting the instruments to special mode to execute end-of-life tasks. 

The European Space Agency will instruct Aeolus to naturally decline from its current height of 320 km to 280 km in the upcoming months, following which it will be gradually reduced to 150 km over the surface of the Earth when the death dive starts. The spacecraft will burn up when it drops to about 80 km, according to scientists.

In another statement, the European Space Agency said, “Intense solar activity in recent months means that the satellite has been using even more fuel to remain in orbit. For Aeolus, it’s been like running against the wind.”

Further, in a release the agency said, “The chance of a re-entry causing any harm is exceptionally low. The final date depends on how solar activity speeds up the process, but Aeolus is expected to be no more before the end of August.”

According to the European space agency, engineers focused on how Aeolus will target big oceans upon hitting Earth to lessen the impact on land. 

Tommaso Parrinello, Aeolus Mission Manager, said, “The exact details on the re-entry approach and series of manoeuvres and operations, as well as a more detailed timeline will be made public in mid-June. For now, we can anticipate that we are targeting the best ocean corridor to re-enter.”

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