The OGO-1 satellite, launched by NASA in 1964, will fall to Earth this Saturday, August 29. The Orbiting Geophysics Observatory (OGO) 1, as its name implies, was the first in a series of six satellites that were launched in the 1960s, and aimed to study the Earth’s magnetic field and how our planet interacts with the Sun.
OGO-1 collected data until 1969 and was officially decommissioned in 1971. Since then, it has been rotating around the Earth in a highly elliptical orbit, which takes two days to complete. Attracted by the Earth’s gravitational pull since he retired, he will crash into the Earth’s atmosphere this Saturday, according to NASA calculations.
The other five satellites in the same series returned to Earth in 2011, shattering into several fragments, which were scattered across the sea.
487 kilos against our atmosphere
It was the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) space observation centers and the Earth’s Asteroid Impact Alert System (ATLAS) that detected the small object coming towards Earth.
After being analyzed by researchers from the CSS, the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects (NEO), the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (in Southern California) and the European Space Coordination Center of the NEO Agency , it was discovered that the moving object was OGO-1.
The OGO-1 weighs 487 kilograms, and will crash into the Earth’s atmosphere at 6:10 pm (GMT) tomorrow (29), over the South Pacific, more or less between Tahiti and the Cook Islands.
The satellite is expected to fragment during the fall, and poses no risk to living beings.