Satellite fell to Earth after 38 years in space

NASA’s Earth Radiation Satellite (ERBS) returned to Earth this weekend after nearly four decades in space. The Ministry of Defense confirmed that the satellite weighing 2,450 kilograms burned down over the Bering Sea. This is reported by NASA.

On January 8, 2023, the NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite was disabled. Image: NASA

ERBS has been operating in Earth orbit since 1984. It was put into Earth orbit by the tragically famous Space Shuttle Challenger. During its 38 years in space, of which 21 years ERBS worked, the satellite made a significant contribution to the science of climate and weather.

The expected service life of the satellite was only two years. But it exceeded this mark. “During 21 years of work in orbit, ERBS actively investigated how the Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the Sun, and measured stratospheric ozone, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide and aerosols,” NASA reported.

Small spacecraft returning to Earth are most often destroyed before reaching the surface. NASA expected most of the heavy ERBS to burn up. The trajectory of the return over the reservoir meant that some parts of the satellite could withstand friction against the atmosphere. Therefore, everything that could remain from the device most likely fell safely into the sea.

Earlier, we reported on how a secret Russian satellite descended from orbit 19 days after launch.

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