Officials are now issuing predictions of where/when the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite falls back to earth. The headline: There appears to be almost no chance it falls in Minnesota.
The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris studies released the above map today, saying the predicted reentry time is 22:07 UTC (that’s 5:07 p.m. Central Time) tomorrow, give or take 9 hours.
Lesser headline: If that’s true, we won’t see a thing. The satellite will be in the southern hemisphere at the time.
We admit to being opposed to the idea of getting hit by a falling satellite. On the other hand, we kind of want to see a show. If that describes you, hope that the satellite stays aloft for four more orbits, when its track could take it closer to the Upper Midwest.
Here’s the key to the above map:
Yellow Icon – location of object at predicted reentry time
Orange Line – area of visibility at the predicted reentry time for a ground observer
Blue Line – ground track uncertainty prior to predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
Yellow Line – ground track uncertainty after predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
White Line – day/night divider at predicted reentry time (Sun location shown by White Icon)
Note: Possible reentry locations lie anywhere along the blue and yellow ground track.