The Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert to pilots today warning flyers to be on the lookout for any signs of a huge NASA satellite expected to fall to Earth tonight (Sept. 23) or early tomorrow.Heads up.
FAA officials released the special notice after NASA refined its estimates for the re-entry time of its Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), a 20-year-old climate satellite the size of a school bus that will fall from space sometime in the next 18 hours.
"Aircraft are advised that a potential hazard may occur due to re-entry of satellite UARS into the Earth's atmosphere," the FAA said in the statement. "FAA is working with the Department of Defense and NASA to ensure the most current re-entry information is provided to operators as quickly as possible."
NASA and the U.S. military's Space Surveillance Network still do not know exactly where the UARS satellite will fall when it hits Earth's atmosphere. Earlier this week, NASA scientists predicted that the satellite would miss North America altogether, but the space agency announced today that there is a slight chance that the 6-ton spacecraft could fall over the United States.
FAA officials told pilots to keep an eye out for any fireballs or other signs of the satellite's re-entry.
Friday, September 23, 2011
It looks like the U.S. may be back in the target zone for the dying bus-sized satellite:
Posted by Rick Moore on 9/23/2011