Thursday, May 23, 2024

A spaceship the size of a car is running low on fuel and hurtling toward Earth


The European spacecraft “Aeolus” is running out of fuel, and is the first satellite to directly observe wind features from space, pulling the Earth’s atmosphere and its 1360-kg combined gravity toward our planet at high speed. .

In the original plan, Elus was expected to return to Earth naturally, but the European Space Agency (ESA) has come up with another idea: an assisted return – the first of its kind.

To reduce the risk of space debris, rockets and satellites are designed to safely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere after their missions are completed, TheNextWeb reported.

A rapid descent creates so much heat and friction that small objects often disintegrate in the sky – but larger objects remain intact. To minimize the risk to human life, these entities must land safely in unpopulated areas.

Under current regulations, a spacecraft must burn completely or undergo a controlled re-entry procedure, but Aeolus was designed before those rules came into effect.

The car-sized spacecraft Aeolus mission was planned in the late 1990s, when there were no re-entry guidelines. At the time, Aeolus was designed to land on a part of Earth that was completely random.

In line with today’s requirements, ESA changed the plan. Mission control uses the last drops of satellite fuel to return the satellite to Earth.

“This re-entry attempt violates mission safety regulations that were planned and designed in the late 1990s,” Tim Florer, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, said in a blog post.

“Once ESA and industry partners find that they can already minimize risks to life or infrastructure, the wheels are in motion, things should go as planned, and comply with current safety regulations for Aeolus missions.” Today.”

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Aeolus will first descend from its operational altitude of 320 km to lower orbit, and when it reaches an altitude of 280 km – a process that could take weeks – the European Space Agency will attempt the first return maneuvers.

Further maneuvers will bring the satellite up to 150 km above Earth. Final critical commands will guide the satellite to an altitude of 80 km, where most of the satellite will burn up in the atmosphere, although some debris may still be present. Reach the surface of our planet.

To avoid life-threatening debris, the European Space Agency aims to re-enter the ocean far from Earth.

If the maneuvers are successful, the European Space Agency expects to complete the flight in late July or early August. However, there is no guarantee that the first attempt at assisted re-entry will be successful, and if the plan is abandoned, Aeolus’ natural appearance will continue. But if the mission is accomplished, it will set a new benchmark. For satellite re-entry and space debris mitigation.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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