Monday, September 26, 2011

NASA's UARS Re-Enters into Earth's Atmosphere

WASHINGTON – NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. Sept. 24, 20 years and nine days after its launch on a 14-year mission that produced some of the first long-term records of chemicals in the atmosphere.

The precise re-entry time and location of debris impacts have not been determined. During the re-entry period, the satellite passed from the east coast of Africa over the Indian Ocean, then the Pacific Ocean, then across northern Canada, then across the northern Atlantic Ocean, to a point over West Africa. The vast majority of the orbital transit was over water, with some flight over northern Canada and West Africa.

Six years after the end of its productive scientific life, UARS broke into pieces during re-entry, and most of it up burned in the atmosphere. Data indicates the satellite likely broke apart and landed in the Pacific Ocean far off the U.S. coast. Twenty-six satellite components, weighing a total of about 1,200 pounds, could have survived the fiery re-entry and reach the surface of Earth. However, NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.

The Operations Center for JFCC-Space, the Joint Functional Component Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., which works around the clock detecting, identifying and tracking all man-made objects in Earth orbit, tracked the movements of UARS through the satellite’s final orbits and provided confirmation of re-entry.

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Saudi Women Got Rights to Vote for First Time - King Abdullah

Saudi women got the right to vote for the first time in modern history, as part of the changes King Abdullah said they will run in future elections.

"We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society in every field of work," Abdullah said yesterday on state television. "Women have the right to submit their candidacy for municipal council membership and have the right to take part in submitting candidates in accordance with Shariah."

Saudi Arabia applies the gender constraints interpreted from the Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam. Men and women are strictly segregated in public, even in schools, restaurants and fast food takeouts lines. What keeps women in sales jobs in malls and stores, unless the output caters exclusively to female customers, and are also excluded from driving.

The king also said yesterday that women can now become part of the Shura Council, its advisory body. Abdullah, who was born in 1924, is committed to improving the situation of women and opened the first co-educational college in 2009. Appointed deputy kingdom's first woman minister, Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez, the same year and has said it will provide women greater access to jobs

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Friday, September 23, 2011

NASA - Re-entry of UARS Satellite to Earth

Re-entry of the NASA's abandoned UARS satellite into earth's atmosphere is expected in the early evening today. While NASA maintains that it will not be over North America at that time, they also insist it's too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any certainty.

Some 26 chunks of the old NASA satellite - roughly the size of a bus - will be dropping straight down at hundreds of miles per hour over an area of some 500 square miles at some point Friday night.

"We believe that the risk is sufficiently low that no one needs to, to change their behaviors," NASA's Mark Matney said Thursday.

As UARS - short for Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite - enters the atmosphere, everything changes. Bit by bit, pieces will cross the threshold about 60 miles up, enter the atmosphere and then drop straight down like stones - travelling at several hundred miles an hour depending on their shape.

The chunks will fall at different points along the satellite's path, meaning debris will cover 500 miles.

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