56-year old NASA satellite is about to fall back to Earth
New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: A derelict geophysics satellite launched by NASA in 1964 to observe Earth’s magnetosphere will retire over the weekend as the earth’s gravity has finally caught up with it.
Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 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.
OGO-1 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.
OGT-1 will re-enter earth’s atmosphere today and over the South Pacific approximately halfway between Tahiti and the Cook Islands. NASA said that the spacecraft will break up in the atmosphere and poses no threat to anyone on earth and that it is a normal final occurrence for retired spacecraft.
"NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations projects will continue track of this object to confirm its reentry time and location, and to exercise its processes for tracking and predicting impacts of natural objects on Earth’s atmosphere," the statement read.
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