UAE | General

UAE denies fall of Russian satellite debris

  • WAM
  • Published: 19:12 January 29, 2013

Dubai: Scientists have denied reports that debris from a Russian satellite will fall on UAE territory.

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) said the reports were “baseless and inaccurate’’.

EIAST affirmed in a statement issued on Tuesday that it had analysed the reported threat posed by the Russian satellite, Cosmos 1484, re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, which some claim will fall in and around the UAE.

‘’EIAST wishes to ensure the public that such an occurrence poses virtually no threat since the friction caused by re-entry into the atmosphere causes the satellite to break down into pieces and burn out. Every few days such space debris enters the atmosphere and is destroyed. For Cosmos 1484, the same is anticipated.”

The satellite was launched by the Soviet Union in 1983. It was designed to gather scientific information about Earth. It weighs around 2,500 tons.

In reality, when satellites enter the atmosphere, they break down into pieces — they are not designed or manufactured to withstand re-entry, with the thickness of structure, material used, etc). Every few days, such space debris enters the atmosphere and is destroyed. For Cosmos 1484, the same is anticipated. However, no guarantees are made, since the entry event is a very complicated process and no modelling is possible to predict the destruction properly.

Also, even with very advanced technologies available to the US, the prediction of re-entry is not accurate. In the current case, Cosmos 1484 was expected to enter the atmosphere on December 19, January 7, and then January 11.

After re-entry, the satellite may continue to orbit the Earth, and there exists a very small probability that small pieces may hit the ground — if they survive the burn out — which could be almost anywhere on earth.

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