NASA Satellite Makes Homecoming; But its Whereabouts May Remain Unknown Forever?

It flew for long 20 years and nine days, and when it made its homecoming, nobody knows its whereabouts. Almost six years after ceasing operation, the decommissioned NASA satellite finally landed somewhere on Earth, but even NASA doesn't know the exact landing location and "may never know."

In a latest statement, NASA said that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. However, the space agency did state that the accurate re-entry time and location of debris crashes have not been determined yet.

NASA believes that during its fiery dive, UARS broke apart and most probably plunged into the Pacific Ocean far off the U.S. coast. It also stresses the possibility of 26 pieces of the satellite, weighing about 1,200 pounds, which could have survived the fall.

During its entire 20 years on orbit as well as its re-entry this past week, the research satellite was monitored by the Operations Center for JFCC-Space, the Joint Functional Component Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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