New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: A derelict geophysics satellite launched by NASA in 1964 to observe Earth’s magnetosphere burnt up in the atmosphere over the weekend after the planet’s gravity finally caught up with it, the space agency has confirmed.

Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1 reentered earth-atmosphere at 8:88 pm (GMT) over the souther Pacific Ocean and broke up in the atmosphere, posing no threat to humans NASA spokesperson Josh Handal told Space.com. The satellite re-entered about 160 kilometres southeast of Tahiti.

OGO-1 was the first of series of six satellites launched between 1964 to 1969 to better observe our planet. Over the years, the satellite swept through earth’s radiation belts in an elliptical orbit to study our planet’s magnetosphere—the region of space surrounding Earth that is controlled by Earth’s magnetic field, as per a statement by NASA. It returned valuable scientific data for five years until 1969, after which it was placed in a standby mode.  All support for the mission was terminated in 1971 and the spacecraft had since then been repeatedly circling our planet in a highly elliptical orbit.

The space agency on Friday had said that the satellite would break up in the atmosphere, pose no threat to anyone on earth and that it was a normal final occurrence for retired spacecraft.

Five other aircrafts of the OGT series have already and safely returned to Earth, landing in various parts of the planet’s oceans. Despite a few technical problems, all the satellites successfully studied the interactions between the Earth and the Sun. OGO 1, OGO 3, and OGO 5 orbited the planet in equatorial orbits, while OGO 2, OGO 4, and OGO 6 orbited in lower polar orbits.

Posted By: Lakshay Raja