30-year-old satellite expected to fall from space into Africa today

After 13 years of orbital decay, the satellite would naturally re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

30-year-old satellite expected to fall from space into Africa today  [Edexlive]

The ERS-2 was launched in 1995, following on from its sister satellite, ERS-1, which had been launched four years earlier. At their time of launch, the two ERS satellites were the most sophisticated Earth observation satellites ever developed.

In 2011, the ESA retired ERS-2 and began the process of de-orbiting. After 13 years of orbital decay, mainly driven by solar activity, the satellite would naturally re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

During re-entry, the satellite would break up into pieces. Most of the ERS-2 would burn up on re-entry, but the ESA is still monitoring its landfall, which is predicted to occur somewhere over the east coast of central Africa.

Any pieces that survive making landfall would be spread out over a ground track on average hundreds of kilometres long and a few tens of kilometres wide, so the associated risks are deemed very low. According to data acquired on February 20, the ESA’s Space Debris Office predicts the ERS-2 satellite re-entry will occur around 15:32 GMT.

The ESA’s Space Debris Office did warn their prediction may be out by roughly four and a half hours before or after that time thanks to the influence of unpredictable solar activity. This affected the density of Earth’s atmosphere and, therefore, the drag experienced by the satellite. Throughout its 16-year working life, the ERS-2 returned a wealth of information that revolutionised our perspective of Earth and understanding of climate change.

It collected data on Earth’s diminishing polar ice, changing land surfaces, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and atmospheric chemistry. In addition, the ERS-2 was called upon to monitor natural disasters, such as severe floods and earthquakes, in remote parts of the world.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Ibom Air denies blacklisting claims, says it owns all its aircraft

Ibom Air denies blacklisting claims, says it owns all its aircraft

Reps begin vigorous review of supplementary appropriation bill amidst concerns

Reps begin vigorous review of supplementary appropriation bill amidst concerns

Akwa Ibom receives 24,000 bags of rice from FG to alleviate food crisis

Akwa Ibom receives 24,000 bags of rice from FG to alleviate food crisis

'When we look at you, we see hope' - Labour Party celebrate Peter Obi @ 63

'When we look at you, we see hope' - Labour Party celebrate Peter Obi @ 63

Doyin Okupe narrates how he convinced Peter Obi to dump PDP for LP

Doyin Okupe narrates how he convinced Peter Obi to dump PDP for LP

FG to convert petrol vehicles to CNG in all 36 States by end of 2024

FG to convert petrol vehicles to CNG in all 36 States by end of 2024

This school principal survives on less than ₦30k minimum wage, now she wants ₦250k

This school principal survives on less than ₦30k minimum wage, now she wants ₦250k

Within a week, 225 Boko Haram terrorists, including 38 children, surrender to troops

Within a week, 225 Boko Haram terrorists, including 38 children, surrender to troops

NAFDAC shuts down bakery using saccharine to bake bread for  Sokoto residents

NAFDAC shuts down bakery using saccharine to bake bread for Sokoto residents

Pulse Sports

Racism storm rocks Chelsea as players UNFOLLOW Enzo Fernández on Instagram

Racism storm rocks Chelsea as players UNFOLLOW Enzo Fernández on Instagram

Nigeria abandon 2-Time AFCON winner, eye move for former England manager to replace Finidi George

Nigeria abandon 2-Time AFCON winner, eye move for former England manager to replace Finidi George

Transfer News LIVE: Man U announce Joshua Zirkzee signing plus all the latest DONE deals and more

Transfer News LIVE: Man U announce Joshua Zirkzee signing plus all the latest DONE deals and more

Lionel Messi now world's most decorated player, surpasses Brazilian legend after Copa America win

Lionel Messi now world's most decorated player, surpasses Brazilian legend after Copa America win

Latest Sports News & Updates

Latest Sports News & Updates

Lamine Yamal: 17 y/o Euros champion cosies up to girlfriend Alex Padilla to confirm dating rumours

Lamine Yamal: 17 y/o Euros champion cosies up to girlfriend Alex Padilla to confirm dating rumours