Complete Coverage of NASA's Falling Satellite UARS

An artist's concept of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) satellite in space
An artist's concept of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) satellite in space. The 6 1/2-ton satellite was deployed from space shuttle Discovery in 1991 and decommissioned in December 2005. (Image credit: NASA)

This page was updated at 1:50 p.m. ET, Sept. 27.

A dead NASA satellite, called the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), is falling uncontrolled toward Earth and crash in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, Sept. 24. Agency officials are unable to pinpoint the exact time and location of the fall, but have said there is little risk of debris landing in populated areas. is providing full coverage of the UARS re-entry, including a look at the issues surrounding orbital debris and space situational awareness.

FINAL NASA Update (Sept. 27 PM):

"NASA's decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Saturday, Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has determined the satellite entered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude (170.2 west longitude). This location is over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass. The debris field is located between 300 miles and 800 miles downrange, or generally northeast of the re-entry point. NASA is not aware of any possible debris sightings from this geographic area.

This is your source for official information on the re-entry of UARS. All information posted here has been verified with a government or law enforcement agency. This is NASA's final status report on the re-entry of UARS."


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Infographic: NASA's Falling UARS Satellite Explained


Sunday, Sept. 25

Huge UARS Satellite's Fall From Space Captivates Skywatchers, Sparks Hoaxes
A falling NASA satellite caught the interest of skywatchers and pranksters alike.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Final Grave of Fallen NASA Satellite May Stay a Mystery
It's harder than you think to determine where a piece of space junk falls.

NASA Satellite Falls to Earth... But Where Did It Land?
NASA's doomed Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell to Earth today.

Friday, Sept. 23

Old Satellite's Fall to Earth May Be Visible from Southern California
A new prediction suggests SoCal residents could see the UARS satellite's fall to Earth.

Tumbling Satellite Could Fall over Canada, Africa or Australia By Sat.
NASA's UARS satellite is expected to fall to Earth by Saturday(Sept. 24).

FAA Warns Pilots to Watch for Falling NASA Satellite Debris
The FAA wants pilots to report any space debris sightings from NASA's UARS satellite.

If NASA's Satellite Falls on Your Home, Who Pays for Repairs?
NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is falling to Earth, and may crash on land. We wondered who would have to pay for repairs if it landed on a house.

Not 'UARS' to Keep: NASA Warns Against Collecting Falling Satellite's Debris
NASA's 6-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is expected to fall back to Earth late tonight or early Saturday (Sept. 23 or Sept. 24 EDT), raining more than two dozen large chunks of debris on the surface. But don't even think about keeping a piece for yourself.

How Tumbling Motion Delayed Falling UARS Satellite's Plunge to Earth
A huge, dead satellite tumbling to Earth is falling slower than expected, and may now plummet down somewhere over the United States tonight or early Saturday, NASA officials now say. The satellite has been slowed down by a change in its orientation.

Huge Tumbling Satellite Could Fall to Earth Over US Tonight or Saturday, NASA Says
A huge, dead satellite tumbling to Earth is falling slower than expected, and may now plummet down somewhere over the United States tonight or early Saturday, despite forecasts that it would miss North America entirely, NASA officials now say.

Photos: Space Debris & Cleanup Concepts

Falling Space Junk: The Facts About NASA's Doomed UARS Satellite

Huge NASA Satellite Will Fall to Earth Today
A decommissioned NASA satellite is expected to plummet to Earth today (Sept. 23), and agency officials are monitoring the dead spacecraft closely to try to narrow down when and where the debris will fall.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Android App Lets You Track Huge NASA Satellite Falling to Earth Friday
Those worried about the falling satellite headed toward Earth can monitor its location with an Android app.

Falling Satellites & Space Junk: Q&A with Orbital Debris Expert Ray Williamson talks to an orbital debris expert about the falling UARS satellite and the problem of junk in space.

US Safe from Falling NASA Satellite on Friday, Scientists Refine Predictions
North America is safe from the uncontrolled fall of NASA's UARS satellite, officials say.

Get a snapshot view of NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), which will fall to Earth in 2011, in this infographic. (Image credit: Karl Tate, Contributor)

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Where On Earth Will NASA's Doomed Satellite Fall?
Scientists won't be able to determine where pieces of the UARS satellite will fall until two hours before impact.

What Are the Odds You'll Get Struck by NASA's Falling Satellite?
So what's the chance that you, reader, will be struck by some piece of former space flotsam in your lifetime?

Falling NASA Satellite Could Spark Stunning Light Show
NASA's falling UARS satellite could offer a unique skywatching opportunity for anyone lucky enough to see it.

Huge NASA Satellite Falling to Earth Is Largest in 30 Years
NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is expected to fall to the ground on Sept. 23.

Doomed NASA Satellite Spotted in Amateur Astronomer Video
Round and round it goes … where it stops, nobody knows. NASA's out-of-control Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) — a nearly 6 1/2 ton spacecraft — is ready to nosedive into Earth's atmosphere later this week and some expert skywatchers have even managed to spot the massive spacecraft from the ground.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

FEMA Prepared for Dead NASA Satellite's Plunge to Earth This Week
An out-of-control satellite that's been languishing in orbit for six years is now one the verge of falling back to Earth, NASA has announced.

Video: Where Could UARS Satellite Debris Fall?

Monday, Sept. 19

NASA: Huge Defunct Satellite Will Fall to Earth This Week
A dead climate satellite that has been circling Earth for 20 years will make a fiery death plunge this week, with some pieces of the 6 1/2 ton spacecraft expected to reach the surface of the planet, NASA officials say.

Video: Fear of Ozone Loss Launched UARS Satellite

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is in the grasp of the remote manipulator system end effector above the payload bay of the Earth-orbiting Discovery during STS-48 pre-deployment checkout procedures. (Image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center)

Friday, Sept. 16

Huge Defunct Satellite Falling to Earth Faster Than Expected, NASA Says

NASA space junk experts have refined the forecast for the anticipated death plunge of a giant satellite, with the U.S. space agency now predicting the 6 1/2-ton climate probe will plummet to Earth around Sept. 23, a day earlier than previously reported.

Tuesday, Sept. 13

Dead Satellite Will Fall to Earth By September's End, NASA Says
A defunct satellite poised to fall back to Earth will make its death plunge during the last week of September, NASA officials now say.

Monday, Sept. 12

NASA Satellite Debris May Fall Anywhere … Except on eBay
A dead NASA satellite the size of school bus is falling back to Earth, and where it will drop no one knows, at least not yet. The space agency is clear, however, on where the satellite's debris will not end up: eBay.

Friday, Sept. 9

Dead NASA Satellite Falling From Space, But When & Where?
An out-of-control NASA satellite that is dead in space will plunge back to Earth in the next few weeks, but exactly when and where the spacecraft will fall are still a mystery, space agency and military officials said today.

Falling Satellite Poses Little Risk to Public, NASA Says
An outdated NASA satellite, which has been adrift in orbit for six years, is falling back to Earth, and some of its debris is expected to reach the ground in the next few weeks. But despite the chance that bits of debris could land in North or South America, the space agency is assuring the public that there is no reason to be alarmed.

Wednesday, Sept. 7

Huge Defunct Satellite to Plunge to Earth Soon, NASA Says
Heads up! That's the word from NASA today (Sept. 7) given the impending re-entry of a 6.5-ton satellite through Earth's atmosphere.

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