The 56-year-old NASA satellite is expected to land this weekend


A NASA geophysics satellite's long space odyssey is almost at an end.

The 56-year-old NASA satellite is expected to land this weekend


The Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 1 spacecraft, or OGO-1, launched in September 1964 to review Earth's magnetic environment and the way our planet interacts with the sun. The satellite gathered data until 1969, was officially decommissioned in 1971 and has been zooming silently around Earth on a highly elliptical two-day orbit ever since.

But OGO-1's days are numbered. New observations show that Earth's gravity has finally trapped with the 1,070-lb. (487 kilograms) satellite, which is predicted’ to die a fiery death in our planet's atmosphere this weekend.

"OGO-1 is predicted to re-enter on one among its next three perigees, the points within the spacecraft's orbit closest to our plant, and current estimates have OGO-1 re-entering Earth's atmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at about 5:10 p.m. EDT [2110 GMT], over the South Pacific approximately halfway between Tahiti and therefore the Cook Islands," NASA officials wrote in an update Thursday (Aug. 27).

"The spacecraft will hack within the atmosphere and poses no threat to our planet — or anyone thereon — and this is often a traditional final operational occurrence for retired spacecraft," they added.

The new observations come courtesy of the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) and therefore the University of Hawaii's Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), both of which independently detected a little object on a clear impact trajectory.

Analyses by researchers at the CSS, the middle for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at NASA's reaction propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and therefore the European Space Agency's NEO Coordination Center revealed that the thing in question wasn't an asteroid but rather OGO-1, NASA officials said.

OGO-1 was the primary satellite within the six-spacecraft OGO program, whose other members launched in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. Those five have all come to Earth, last in 2011, re-entering over various patches of ocean.

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