After nearly four decades in space, NASA’s Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) is falling from the sky. On Friday, the agency said the likelihood of a breakdown by ERBS injuring anyone on Earth was “low.” NASA expects most of the satellite to burn 5,400 pounds on re-entry. Earlier this week, the Department of Defense predicted that ERBS would re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday at approximately 6:40PM ET, give or take 17 hours.
While it may be a familiar name, Earth’s Radiation Budget Satellites have had anything but a dull history. By Phys.org, the Shuttle Challenger carried a satellite to space in 1984, a little more than a year before the launch of Challenger’s breakthrough in early 1986. Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, launched the ERBS from Challenger’s cargo using a robotic space arm. On the same mission, Ride crew member Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to complete a spacewalk. It was also the first mission to see two female astronauts fly to space together. As for ERBS, it continued to collect ozone and atmospheric measurements until 2005. Scientists used that data to learn how the Earth absorbs and scatters solar energy. ERBS’s contribution to science is even more impressive when you consider that NASA initially expected to remain in office for only two years.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publication.
#dead #NASA #satellite #returns #Earth #years #space #Engadget