We talked about the decommissioned space satellite UARS last week and the fact that it was going to be plummeting back through the earth’s atmosphere Friday or Saturday of last week. UARS has made its descent back through the atmosphere and most of it did in fact burn up in re-entry. However, the 26 satellite components that NASA thought might survive the atmosphere are still unaccounted for.
NASA says that the satellite re-entry took it from the east coast of Africa over the Indian Ocean, then the Pacific Ocean, then across Northern Canada, the Atlantic Ocean, to a point over West Africa. The majority of the flight was over water according to NASA. NASA thinks that the parts that survived re-entry would have landed in the Ocean, but that can’t be confirmed.
NASA did say there had been no reports of injuries or property damage. Apparently, the reason the satellite was so hard to track was due to the space it was traveling in changing in density over time due to incoming particles. The Joint Functional Component Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California was able to track the UARS final orbits and confirmed re-entry.