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Debris from American Spy Satellite poses danger

A non-functional American spy satellite is likely to hit Earth by the end of February according to U.S. officials. The satellite is no longer controllable and its debris could post a potential danger.

The National Security Council issued a statement that the satellite is being carefully monitored by government officials, as the location where the satellite might land is still unknown.

It is not unusual for satellites to start a de-orbiting process and enter Earth’s atmosphere, but in most cases, they don’t get to reach Earth’s surface, as they disintegrate before impact. The debris usually pose no danger, as they land in remote areas, however, the situation needs to be monitored, as scientists said they were not able to control it whatsoever.

In this particular case, the satellite is thought to be an experimental imagery satellite launched in December 2006 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After reaching its orbit, the ground base lost any type of communication with the satellite. The trajectory of the satellite re-entering Earth’s atmosphere is impossible to control.

This could prove to be a tricky landing, as much of the fuel has not been consumed, which would endanger anyone on the ground if the landing doesn’t occur in a remote location. At the same time, there a more optimistic scenario and that is that the fuel tank could suffer an explosion upon entering the atmosphere, which would be visible to the naked eye.