Reentry ERS-2

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OFSO
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Reentry ERS-2

#1 Post by OFSO » Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:03 am

Update just now:

Using data acquired on 19 February 2024, ESA’s Space Debris Office currently predicts that the reentry of ESA’s ERS-2 satellite will take place at:

19:24 UTC (20:24 CET) on 21 February 2024

Plus or minus a couple of hours depending on solar wind, chunks of atmosphere getting in the way, etc.

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#2 Post by Ex-Ascot » Tue Feb 20, 2024 9:34 am

Good for them to be so accurate. We are clearing for them a landing space.
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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#3 Post by Boac » Tue Feb 20, 2024 10:25 am

Presumably some sort of probable track can be calculated and refined nearer the time. Useful to know whether or not to dig a slit trench.

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#4 Post by OFSO » Wed Feb 21, 2024 1:40 am

Latest prediction:

16:32 UTC (17:32 CET) on 21 February 2024

The uncertainty in this prediction is +/- 4.61 hours.

Reentry and disintegration starting somewhere over East Africa, bits and pieces heading out to sea. Unlikely to turn up in an African market as car spares, although one never knows.

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#5 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Wed Feb 21, 2024 2:36 am

It would appear to be at risk of ending up near Maun if it's over an hour late (1:17:40) than predicted, and Teddington if it's 1:17:51 late!

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#6 Post by Pinky the pilot » Wed Feb 21, 2024 3:40 am

I wonder just how much debris can be expected to arrive at ground/sea level?
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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#7 Post by OFSO » Wed Feb 21, 2024 4:39 pm

Contact lost. Assumed to have re-entered. Botswana residents please check thatched roofs.

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#8 Post by OFSO » Wed Feb 21, 2024 5:35 pm

Looks like the reentry point (initiation) was north west of Scandinavia with debris following the orbit heading south east down across Sweden and Norway, the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and Central/Eastern Africa.

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#9 Post by PHXPhlyer » Wed Feb 21, 2024 7:15 pm

OFSO wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2024 5:35 pm
Looks like the reentry point (initiation) was north west of Scandinavia with debris following the orbit heading south east down across Sweden and Norway, the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and Central/Eastern Africa.
Which site were you getting the data from? :-?

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#10 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Wed Feb 21, 2024 8:02 pm


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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#11 Post by OFSO » Wed Feb 21, 2024 8:44 pm

I was looking at ESA's own site. Current press reports say it reentered between Alaska and Hawaii. Well, that certainly narrows it down.....

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#12 Post by OFSO » Wed Feb 21, 2024 9:40 pm

This is where it reentered:

37°24'00.0"N 151°54'00.0"W

Time 17:17 zulu

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Re: Reentry ERS-2

#13 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:48 pm

No damage reported after 5,000-pound satellite fell to Earth Wednesday

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/19/world/er ... index.html

A European Space Agency satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Hawaii Wednesday afternoon and there have been no reports of damage, according to the agency.

The agency’s Space Debris Office, along with an international surveillance network, monitored and tracked the Earth-observing ERS-2 satellite throughout February to make predictions about the reentry, which occurred at 12:17 p.m. ET Wednesday. The ESA provided continuous live updates on its website.

At around 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, the satellite broke apart due to atmospheric drag, and the majority of the fragments were expected to burn up in the atmosphere. The agency said it was possible that some fragments could reach the planet’s surface, but the pieces didn’t contain any harmful substances and likely fell into the ocean.

The exact time remained unclear even in the days leading up to reentry due to the unpredictability of solar activity, which can change the density of Earth’s atmosphere and how the atmosphere tugs on the satellite. As the sun nears its 11-year cycle’s peak, known as solar maximum, solar activity has been ramping up. Solar maximum is expected to occur later this year.

The sun’s increased activity already had an impact on speeding up the reentry of the ESA’s Aeolus satellite in July 2023.

The ERS-2 satellite had an estimated mass of 5,057 pounds (2,294 kilograms) after depleting its fuel, according to the agency.

“Uncontrolled Atmospheric reentry has long been a common method for disposing of space objects at the end of their mission,” said Tim Flohrer, head of the agency’s Space Debris Office, in a statement. “We see objects similar in size or larger to ERS-2 reentering the atmosphere multiple times each year.”

ERS-2’s backstory
The Earth-observing ERS-2 satellite first launched on April 21, 1995, and it was the most sophisticated satellite of its kind at the time to be developed and launched by Europe.

Along with its twin, ERS-1, the satellite collected valuable data on the planet’s polar caps, oceans and land surfaces and observed disasters like flooding and earthquakes in remote areas. The data gathered by ERS-2 is still used today, according to the agency.

“The ERS satellites have provided a stream of data which has changed our view of the world in which we live,” said Simonetta Cheli, Director of the agency’s Earth Observation Programs, in a statement. “They have provided us with new insights on our planet, the chemistry of our atmosphere, the behavior of our oceans, and the effects of mankind’s activity on our environment – creating new opportunities for scientific research and applications.”

In 2011, the agency decided to end the satellite’s operations and deorbit it, rather than adding to the swirl of space junk orbiting the planet.

The satellite executed 66 deorbiting maneuvers in July and August of 2011 before the mission officially concluded later that year on September 11. The maneuvers burned through the rest of the satellite’s fuel and decreased its altitude, setting ERS-2’s orbit on a trajectory to slowly spiral closer to Earth and reenter the atmosphere within 15 years.

The chances of an individual person being injured by space debris each year are less than 1 in 100 billion, about 1.5 million times lower than the risk of being killed in an accident at home, according to the agency.

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