Friday, September 16, 2011

UARS re-entry Update (and Nanosail-D, and IGS 1B)

UARS update: It seems that the re-entry moment for UARS, the defunct NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, is moving forward in time, as Harro Zimmer pointed out on the Seesat-L list.

NASA and SSC Space-Track both settle for a decay on or near 24 September, and so do independant analysis by Harro Zimmer as well as my own assessment (using Alan Pickup's SatEvo software with current 10.7cm flux values).

As the orbital development near decay is highly influenced by solar activity, there currently is an uncertainty of possibly up to a few days in these predictions. Yet it seems save to say that UARS has not much more than a week left.

Nanosail-D update: Meanwhile, that other NASA object up there slowly coming down, NASA's experimental solar sail Nanosail-D, seems not quite willing to give up. It's current orbit and current values for 10.7cm solar flux suggest it will hang on at least another month, untill late October. Same caveats as for UARS apply.

IGS 1B update: this defunct Japanese spy satellite which is steadily coming down (see earlier post here and earlier posts linked their in) since it malfunctioned in 2007, likewise seems intend on spending some more time up there. The current orbit plus solar activity now give a nominal re-entry prognosis for early 2013 instead of 2012. This date is certainly still going to shift back or forth considerably however, depending on how solar activity develops.

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