After almost 30 years in orbit, ESA's ERS-2 satellite falls into Pacific Ocean

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A European Space Agency satellite that spent nearly 30 years in orbit fell back to Earth on Wednesday.

The ESA announced the satellite re-entered Earth's atmosphere over the northern Pacific Ocean at 2:17 p.m. EST but caused no damage to property.


The ESA had predicted that the satellite would come crashing down at roughly 10:41 a.m. EST and expected to splash down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

ESA researchers had said they didn't know how much of ERS-2 would be left since scientists believe most of it would burn up in the atmosphere and what remains was expected to be lost at sea.

On Monday, the ESA shared images captured by the U.K. Space Agency and HEO Robotics of ERS-2 tumbling toward Earth.


ERS-2 stopped operations in 2011 and has been making its way back toward Earth ever since.

It was launched in 1995, four years after its sister satellite ERS-1 to observe and track changes in planets.

ERS-2 specifically was fitted with an additional sensor that gave scientists their first consistent look at the ozone layer.

"It provided us with new insights on our planet, the chemistry of our atmosphere, the behavior of our oceans and the effects of humankind's activity on our environment," ESA's Mirko Albani told The Guardian.

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