Dead satellite return to Earth predicted for this week

Dead satellite return to Earth predicted for this week

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A handout image of ERS-2, a defunct satellite predicted to re-enter Earth's atmosphere Wednesday.

It went up, therefore it has to come down.

A defunct satellite is set to return to Earth this week after completing its over-a-decade mission.

ERS-2, one of the European Space Agency’s first advanced Earth observing satellites, will make a “natural” re-entry after staying in space for 16 years. The agency predicts that the satellite will re-enter the atmosphere on Wednesday around 10 a.m. ET, as of Sunday afternoon.

The satellite was launched in 1995 and though it was originally planned to serve the ESA for three years, it remained in operation until 2011 providing data for over 5,000 projects. The satellite tracked the planet’s shrinking polar ice, sea levels and atmospheric make-up.

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