NASA

Five Decades Old Defunct NASA Satellite Falls Into Pacific Ocean

A 56-year-old NASA satellite has just fallen back to Earth. The satellite in the question was declared retired by the space agency 50 years ago. It met a fiery end on August 29 after being caught up by the gravity of Earth. The satellite has been identified as Orbiting Geophysics Observatory-1. NASA confirmed that OGO-1 fell back to Earth. The satellite caught fire as soon as it entered into Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA, the satellite fell into the Pacific Ocean. The exact location is 160 km southeast of Tahiti. NASA said that OGO-1 Earth’s atmosphere 25 minutes earlier than the prediction, adding that it re-entered over the southern Pacific Ocean. The final moments of the satellite were caught on camera.

NASA said that the defunct satellite posed no threat to humans as it safely burned up in Earth’s atmosphere and dropped into the Pacific Ocean. According to the US space agency, retired satellites meeting such a fate are normal. Interestingly, the spacecraft was originally predicted to be an object. But observations revealed that it was a defunct satellite and not an asteroid. OGO-1 was launched in 1964 as a part of the space agency’s Orbiting Geophysical Observatories project. According to NASA, the satellite was sent on an eccentric orbit. It flew through the radiation belts.

The satellite studied the magnetosphere around Earth and transmitted data back to scientists. It sent scientific data for five years till 1969. It was terminated from service in 1971. The University of Arizona and the University of Hawaii had first predicted the defunct satellite’s return to Earth. Both had first claimed to spot an object on an impact trajectory. The NASA and European Space Agency then closely studied it. The agencies concluded that it was not an asteroid but a defunct satellite. OGO-1 was the first of the OGO series spacecraft that launched into space. However, it is the last one to come back on Earth. The other five satellites have already fallen at different locations in oceans.

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