July 18, 2024

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A NASA satellite returns to Earth after 38 years in space

A NASA satellite returns to Earth after 38 years in space

After nearly four decades in space, NASA’s Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) has re-attempted falling from the sky. On Friday, agency He said The potential for ERBS debris to harm anyone on Earth is “very low”. NASA expects most of the 5,400-pound satellite to burn up on reentry. Earlier this week, the Department of Defense predicted that ERBS would re-enter Earth’s atmosphere Sunday at around 6:40 p.m. ET, give or take 17 hours.

Although it may be a household name, the Earth’s radiation budget satellite has had any but a dull history. for every Phys.orgThe space shuttle Challenger carried the satellite into space in 1984, just over a year before Challenger’s catastrophic demise in Early 1986. Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly into space, fired an ERBS from the Challenger’s cargo hold using the spacecraft’s robotic arm. During the same mission, Raid’s crewmate, Kathryn SullivanShe became the first American woman to travel in space. It was also the first mission to see two female astronauts fly into space together. As for ERBS, it continued to collect ozone and atmospheric measurements through 2005. Scientists have used this data to study how Earth absorbs and radiates solar energy. ERBS’ contribution to science is even more impressive when you consider NASA initially predicted that it would only be in operation for two years.

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