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Defunct satellite fell into South Pacific: NASA

09-28-2011 09:01 BJT

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Debris from NASA's decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) that crashed to Earth on Saturday fell harmlessly in a remote area of the South Pacific Ocean, NASA said on Tuesday.

According to the space agency, the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has determined the satellite entered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 170.2 west longitude at midnight EDT Saturday. The debris field is located between 300 miles and 800 miles downrange, or generally northeast of the re-entry point.

"This location is over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass," NASA announced, adding that it is "not aware of any possible debris sightings from this geographic area."

NASA scientists estimated a 1-in-3,200 chance a satellite part could hit someone on earth. Therefore, any individual's odds of being struck are about one in 21 trillion.

The UARS satellite, launched in 1991 from a space shuttle, was the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical constituents of the atmosphere with a goal of better understanding atmospheric photochemistry and transport.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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