NASA Satellite projected to fall to Earth this week

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The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, aka the ERBS, is a 38-year-old NASA satellite.

On Thursday, January 5, NASA put out a statement claiming the Department of Defense was estimating that the ERBS will return to Earth within a 17-hour window starting January 8 at 6:40 p.m. EST.

California-based Aerospace Corp. believes the satellite will make it home on Monday morning, plus or minus 13 hours. It should pass over Africa, Asia the Middle East and end up traveling along the western part of North and South America.

Most of the 5,400-pound satellite is expected to burn up, as it hits the Earth’s atmosphere. And it is estimated that the chance of wreckage hitting a human is “very low.” 

According to NASA, the odds are about 1 in 9,400 that any damage or harm will result from the return of the remnants of the ERBS.

NASA Satellite launch history

The ERBS was launched in 1984 on board the space shuttle Challenger. At the time it was sent to space it was anticipated it would work for about 2 years. But it remained operational until 2005.