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  Satellites - Robotic Probes
  Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS)
Ben
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posted 12-14-2005 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), deployed Sept. 12 1991 from the space shuttle Discovery, was decommissioned today (Dec. 14, 2005).

It's last good battery shorted out in August and planning to end the mission went as planned, concluding today with the shutting down of the satellite.

It will make an uncontrolled reentry in 2008 or 2009, according to the See-Sat-L list.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-23-2007 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Hampton News reports that an unknown object has collided with UARS.
On Nov. 10, something apparently hit the school bus-sized orbiter. It could have been one of the many pieces in a growing field of "space junk." It could have been a meteoroid. Space debris often leaves pings and dents in satellites and even the space shuttle, and aging satellites decay over time. But a collision that actually creates new pieces of debris is more rare.

"When I heard this, I was shocked," said Jim Russell, a Hampton University professor who was the project lead for HALOE. "This is very unexpected. That's not normal decay."

Nicholas L. Johnson, chief scientist for NASA's Orbital Debris Program, said it remains unclear what happened to UARS. Four pieces bigger than 4 inches in diameter — roughly the size of a trackable piece of space junk — were sent into orbit, but it is unclear how large those pieces are.

A collision from a meteoroid or another piece of debris is the best hypothesis, Johnson said. The core of the spacecraft appears to still be intact...

Two of the "large" pieces that broke off UARS have apparently already burned up in the atmosphere, Johnson said. The other two pieces will likely do the same.

What remains of the craft's core will continue to orbit for some time — barring another collision.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-07-2011 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA: 6.5-ton satellite falling back to Earth

NASA's first major satellite as part of its "Mission to Planet Earth" program is now, ironically, on a much more literal mission back to the planet.

The 6.5-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will return to Earth in the next several weeks, according to NASA. At least some pieces of the spacecraft, which is 35 feet long and 15 feet wide, are expected to survive the fiery plunge into the atmosphere and reach the ground.

"It is too early to say exactly when UARS will re-enter and what geographic area may be affected," NASA said in a statement posted on Wednesday (Sept. 7) to its website.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2011 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA satellite debris may fall anywhere... except on eBay

"Because this is a U.S. government satellite, any object that does reach the surface of the Earth, should it be found, is still the property of the United States," he said.

"You do not have the luxury of trying to sell it on eBay."

But where it falls does make a difference. If it lands within the boundaries of the United States, then "U.S. laws and regulations apply," Johnson said.

Should UARS drop debris outside the U.S. however, then the United Nations (UN) becomes involved...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-15-2011 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of Sept. 15, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 143 mi by 158 mi (230 km by 255 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 24, plus or minus a day.

Glint
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posted 09-15-2011 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stay posted by checking the Aerospace Corporation's re-entry predictions.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-16-2011 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of Sept. 16, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 140 mi by 155 mi (225 km by 250 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day. The re-entry of UARS is advancing because of a sharp increase in solar activity since the beginning of this week.

Glint
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posted 09-16-2011 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gotta love the mainstream media. NBC says UARS is "moving at 5 mph." No wonder it's falling down. Think that should be "mps."

After all, they're only off by a factor of 3,600!

Also, from the article, "The chances of anyone getting hit by the UARS satellite are 1 in 3,200, NASA said."

That seems too high. I would be interested to learn how NASA calculated that percentage.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-16-2011 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
I would be interested to learn how NASA calculated that percentage.
Nick Johnson, chief scientist for NASA's Orbital Debris Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston explained how they arrived at the 1 in 3,200 chance.
"We look at those 26 pieces and how big they are, and we've looked at the fact they can hit anywhere in the world between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south, and we look at what the population density of the world is and most of the 7 billion people live in that region, and numerically it comes out to a chance of 1 in 3,200 that one person anywhere in the world might be struck by a piece of debris."
Johnson stressed though, "those are actually, very, very low odds that anybody is going to be impacted by this debris."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2011 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of Sept. 18, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 133 mi by 149 mi (215 km by 240 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day.

SpaceAholic
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posted 09-19-2011 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The total surface area bounded by 57 degrees north/south placed at risk by UARS is 36,225,000 square miles. For NASA's estimate to be correct, 1/3200 or 11,320 square miles would have to be completely covered with a debris field (not necessarily contiguously) by the residual fragments/dust that survived reentry.

Seems NASA's estimate is off.

mmmoo
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posted 09-21-2011 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can track the path of UARS here in realtime.

Whats interesting is the data box in the upper right, you can see the altitude getting lower and lower

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2011 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of Sept. 21, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 120 mi by 130 mi (195 km by 210 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, United States time.

(The time reference does not mean that the satellite is expected to re-enter over the United States. It is simply a time reference.)

Although it is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry, predictions of the time period are becoming more refined.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2011 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 21, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 120 mi by 130 mi (190 km by 205 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time.

The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period.

It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2011 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Analytical Graphics video release
NASA UARS Satellite Reentry

Aerospace engineers from Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) used the company's analysis and visualization software to create this video depicting:
  • UARS in its current orbit
  • Its potential debris area
  • Burn-up at reentry
  • A representative statistical breakup model
  • UARS estimated debris region

SkyMan1958
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posted 09-21-2011 07:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Video by Theirry Legault, dated Sept. 15, of the UARS as it tumbles in earth orbit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-22-2011 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of 7 a.m. EDT Sept. 22, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 115 mi by 120 mi (185 km by 195 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time. The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period.

It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 36 hours.

spaced out
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posted 09-22-2011 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period.
That's alright then!

Reminds me of an old Onion News piece:

"Texas residents are relieved that the deadly Category 5 storm just missed them, destroying a horn-shaped land mass south of them instead."
It's okay folks, the satellite's not going to land on the U.S., although I suppose it might just land on the bits where the other 95% of humanity lives!

328KF
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posted 09-22-2011 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think that was the intent behind Robert's statement. I don't want to speak for him, but I took it as "too bad we probably won't see the reentry from the U.S" rather than "Whew! Glad it's not going to hit us...too bad for whoever it does hit."

It has been explained at length that the surviving components of UARS pose very little threat to anyone on the ground. Skylab, various rocket stages, and even Columbia demonstrated that when space vehicles fall on land, they are most unlikely to cause any personal injury.

One thing I have realized from flying for a living...there are alot of wide open, unpopulated areas on the planet.

spaced out
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posted 09-22-2011 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know there's little real danger and in any case Robert was quoting NASA not commenting for himself.

Still, it really did remind me of that Onion News sketch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2011 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of 10:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 23, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 100 miles by 105 miles (160 km by 170 km). Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time.

Solar activity is no longer the major factor in the satellite's rate of descent. The satellite's orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent.

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.

It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.

Philip
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posted 09-23-2011 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) has been released, warning airliners for the reentry.
Special Notice ... Effective immediately until 1109252359 UTC. Aircraft are advised that a potential hazard may occur due to reentry of satellite UARS into the Earth's atmosphere. Further NOTAMs will be issued if specific information becomes available. In the interest of flight safety, it is critical that all pilots/flight crew members report any observed falling space debris to the appropriate atc facility and include position, altitude, time, and direction of debris observed.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-23-2011 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the satellite should have its name changed to LARS instead since it is going to become a "Lower Atmospheric Reentering Satellite". And it can be named after Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Why? Because the satellite is "heavy metal".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2011 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of 7 p.m. EDT on Sept. 23, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 90 miles by 95 miles (145 km by 150 km). Re-entry is expected between 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, and 3 a.m., Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time (3 a.m. to 7 a.m. GMT).

During that time period, the satellite will be passing over Canada, Africa and Australia, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The risk to public safety is very remote.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-23-2011 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According the the satellite tracker bit on Fox, UARS current orbit will take it over the central US on an ascending node on THIS orbit, which should be one orbit before reentry. As such, this might be a perfect time to see it and wave it goodbye one last time. I'm heading outside, so hopefully I can see it in about 15 minutes.

Update: No dice on the visual. I think she was just too low to pick up any sun lighting over the US and still too high to begin glowing from reentry (the apogee of the orbit was just off the East coast of North America). But I said a little prayer while outside. Good luck UARS and don't hurt anybody!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2011 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
As of 10:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 23, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 85 miles by 90 miles (135 km by 140 km). Re-entry is expected between 11:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, and 12:45 a.m., Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time (3:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. GMT).

During that time period, the satellite will be passing over Canada and Africa, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The risk to public safety is very remote.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2011 11:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
NASA is working to confirm the re-entry location and time and will provide an update shortly.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 12:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
NASA: "We're still waiting for UARS Done! confirmation. If debris fell on land (and that's still a BIG if), Canada is most likely area."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 02:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.

The satellite was passing eastward over Canada and Africa as well as vast portions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans during that period. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 02:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.

The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA's 6-ton UARS satellite falls to Earth

A school bus size NASA satellite plummeted back to Earth overnight, being torn apart as it reentered the atmosphere and fell over the Pacific Ocean, the space agency said.

Exactly when and where the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell, as well as the fate of any debris that may have made it all the way to the ground, was not yet known.

Glint
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posted 09-24-2011 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space.com has an amateur video of what is purported to be UARS' reentry as viewed from Washington state. It's pretty shaky and blurry though, so it's hard to tell.

Predicted paths over my area during the night, around 19:50-55, 21:21-26, and 03:26-31 EDT were clouded or fogged out. Apparently it was already down several hours before that last one. All passes were quite low, the non-illuminated satellite rising no more than 10 degrees above the horizon at its highest. But it would have been a spectacular sight worth the planning effort.

I had to use downloadable software because Heavens-Above.com doesn't generate ephemerides for passes below 10 degrees.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UARS update
NASA's decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States.

The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.

NASA will conduct a media telecon at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss the re-entry. The telecon will be streamed live.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Space.com has an amateur video of what is purported to be UARS' reentry as viewed from Washington state.
Space.com is in the process of removing this video as it is not of UARS's reentry. According to NASA, there have been no credible sightings of UARS's final descent, which leads them to believe that its reentry was well over the Pacific Ocean.

issman1
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posted 09-24-2011 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find it incredulous that no assets was deployed to capture the high-profile re-entry of UARS, predicted or otherwise.

There were clear visual images of the re-entries of both the Stardust and Hayabusa sample return capsules.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're comparing apples and oranges. Stardust and Hayabusa were controlled re-entries. NASA and JAXA not only knew where to look for their respective probes to re-enter but where they would land.

UARS was uncontrolled. Space weather, the configuration of the spacecraft and other factors were changing the satellite's rate of return throughout its descent.

The Joint Space Operations Center at U.S. Strategic Command made their last prediction two hours before they believed reentry would occur, but even that was a best estimate based on available data.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-24-2011 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So no military satellite could monitor the re-entry? Can ICBMs/MIRVs only be monitored from the ground up (ie from the launch profile) in order to capture their trajectory and destination?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This wasn't a situation that merited military assets.

According to Nick Johnson, chief scientist of NASA's orbital debris program at Johnson Space Center in Houston, that they haven't been able to pinpoint where UARS's reentered "is not uncommon at all." He said that many uncontrolled reentries have gone without ever being pinpointed to where and when they fell.

"This is not an unusual event. We do not always know precisely where these reentries occur. This is not a unique situation to UARS," Johnson said.

music_space
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posted 09-24-2011 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If its research efforts come to fruition, the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), a demonstration using Canadian-made Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, a satellite such as UARS could in the future be refueled instead of having to be decommissioned when out of maneuvering propellants.

The RMM is a collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2011 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by music_space:
...a satellite such as UARS could in the future be refueled instead of having to be decommissioned when out of maneuvering propellants.
UARS was decommissioned because its last instrument battery shorted out, not because it ran out of propellent. In fact, its remaining fuel was used in 2005 to put it into a lower orbit to speed its (uncontrolled) reentry.

That said, had it been possible to refuel UARS in-flight, it may have allowed for a controlled reentry.


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