A 5,000-pound satellite fell in the atmosphere between Alaska and Hawaii

A satellite returned uncontrollably through Mercury's atmosphere and re-entered Earth's atmosphere In the North Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Hawaii, As stated therein European Space Agency.

The company said ERS-2, weighing more than an adult male rhinoceros, hit the atmosphere at 5:17 PM UTC. It is not possible to predict exactly when and where the satellite will return because its return is “natural”.

What is natural return?

ERS-2's batteries had run out and its communications antenna and internal electronics were turned off, meaning there was no way to actively control the satellite's motion as it descended from the ground, the European Space Agency said. ERS-2's last fuel was used in 2011, reducing the risk of a catastrophic explosion capable of creating a large amount of space debris.

Is there any danger in returning ERS-2?

Most of the satellite burned up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. None of the pieces contain toxic or radioactive materials.

The space agency has not yet said how many satellites survived the return, but noted that any fragments “were scattered somewhat randomly along the ground path, on average hundreds of kilometers long and some tens of kilometers wide.”

The annual risk of someone being injured by space debris is 1 in 100 billion, or 65,000 times lower than the risk of being struck by lightning, the space agency added.

What was ERS-2 doing in space?

The satellite was launched on April 21, 1995 as an Earth observation spacecraft. It was used to collect data on Earth's land surfaces, oceans, and polar caps. ERS-2 was used to monitor natural disasters such as severe floods and earthquakes.

Its mission ended in 2011, when the European Space Agency began orbiting the satellite. The orbital process helps prevent orbital collisions and prevent the formation of space debris.

ERS-2's remaining fuel was used up as it did not go into orbit. The average altitude of the satellite is also reduced.

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