Google Play icon

Italy assures no risk of satellite debris on its territory

Share
Posted November 11, 2013
An artist's impression of the Gravity  Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite which  from 2009
An artist’s impression of the Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite which from 2009
Italian officials assured residents Sunday the risk of debris from a defunct satellite falling on Italy overnight was now nil, scrubbing an earlier warning of “minimal” danger.

“The Italian Space Agency has excluded any impact of fragments from the satellite on Italian territory,” the Civil Protection service said in a statement.

The declaration superseded a warning it issued earlier Sunday saying it was “not yet possible to exclude the possibility, even minimal, that one or several fragments could fall on Italy” late Sunday or early Monday.

The European Space Agency said Friday that the Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) research satellite would re-enter the atmosphere sometime Sunday night.

While most of it would disintegrate, a 200-kilogramme (440-pound) fragment the mass of a car engine will survive, breaking up into smaller debris that would hit the Earth’s surface.

It was still unclear where the pieces would land.

Experts have said the statistical risk of humans being hit was remote.

The GOCE low-orbit research satellite was launched in 2009 to monitor gravity variations and sea levels. It ran out of fuel on October 21 after performing for twice as long as originally predicted.

It will start to disintegrate when it descends into the mesosphere, at an altitude of around 80 kilometres (50 miles).

The GOCE was built before the implementation of a 2008 international accord requiring research satellites re-entering the atmosphere at the end of their lifespan to burn up completely or have a controlled re-entry far from human habitation.

Source: Phys.org

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
85,465 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New treatment may reverse celiac disease (October 22, 2019)
  2. The World's Energy Storage Powerhouse (November 1, 2019)
  3. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (October 17, 2019)
  4. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (October 18, 2019)
  5. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email