Russian satellite set to hit earth TOMORROW poses ‘very real danger’, experts warn
- The Kosmos-1220 was launched by Russia in 1980 and classified as defunct the same year
- Russian officials have warned it will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere on Sunday February 16
- It’s descent is not controlled, so it can potentially land anywhere, experts say
- It is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean
By Daily Mail Reporter
Space experts have warned there is a ‘very real danger’ associated with a Russian satellite that is due to come crashing back down to earth on Sunday.
Portions of the now-defunct Kosmos-1220 satellite will survive the high-speed re-entry to the planet and make a fiery, uncontrolled descent through the Earth’s atmosphere, Russian officials have confirmed.
Of the utmost concern however is the location where the fragments will land, which remains unknown.
‘As of February 7, 2014 the fragments are expected to fall on February 16,’ Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
‘The exact impact time and location of the fragments from the Kosmos-1220 satellite may change due to external factors.’
The satellite is expected to land somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, which would pose no threat.
However according to Fox News, it could potentially fall anywhere on earth.
In 1978, a different decommissioned Kosmos satellite crashed into an unoccupied part of Canada, spreading radioactive debris and leading to a lengthy clean-up.
Then in 2009, a third Kosmos satellite crashed at over 26,000 miles per hour with a U.S. Iridium telecommunications satellite, sending thousands of bits of space junk into orbit.
Most recently the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite managed to harmlessly crash into the ocean in November 2013.
The exact size and weight of the Kosmos-1220 satellite is unknown, Ria Novosti reported, adding to the uncertainty of the upcoming event.
‘Much of it will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, but no doubt fragments of Kosmos-1220 will reach Earth,’ David Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine, told Fox News.
‘What we have going for us is that most of the planet is covered with water, and highly populated areas are in the minority of our planet’s surface area.
‘So it is unlikely that satellite debris will cause injuries or major damage. Still, with such a reentry, we are playing the odds.
‘This is a very real danger, given that a decaying orbit will carry this satellite down onto the planet.’
As of October 2013, more than 800 floating bits of space debris posed a potential threat to the International Space Station, according to NASA.
Of these, 10 percent were spacecraft, either functional or non-operational, a third were rocket bodies, and the remainder were miscellaneous debris, the Orbital Debris Program Office noted in a recent newsletter.
16 Feb, 2014
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