NASA Says Satellite Has Slowed, May Now Hit America

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — NASA now says that one of its six-ton satellites could hit the United States when it falls to earth late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The space agency had said its Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, would fall somewhere in the South Pacific on Friday, but it appears the satellite will arrive later and closer to California.

“The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent,” NASA officials wrote in a morning status update Friday. “There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent.”

“At this point, it’s really too hard to tell,” Michael Duncan of the Vandenburg Air Force Base told CBS2 earlier this week. “When we create these orbits, they’re only accurate to a certain period of time, and when you’re talking about being off by 15 minutes, it can relate to a 5,000- to 7,000 -mile-footprint difference.”

It’s unknown if California is at greater risk than middle America or the East Coast because of its closer proximity to the satellite’s originally projected path.

UARS, which was launched in 1991, will fall apart upon re-entering earth’s atmosphere, but some pieces are expected to be several hundred pounds.

NASA says the chance of UARS hitting a person is 1 in 3,200, far better than winning a lottery, but much more painful.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Cathy Hlatkey says:

    You think I will plummet to the Mid-East??????

  2. Astonished says:

    Don’t forget to take your umbrellas! Its raining sataellites!!

  3. duh says:

    I’m suffering from panic attacks now, as well as a neck injury from constantly looking up. I shattered my nose bridge after running into a light post because I am forced to constantly look up.

    Any lawyers out there?

  4. bounce says:

    “The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent,” NASA officials wrote in a morning status update Friday..

    I think they have this backwards. The satellite is slowing down, speeding up its descent. Just sayin’…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It

Listen Live