Russia’s failed spy satellite spotted catapulting to Earth as it lights up the sky | Sciences | New
Onlookers in the American Midwest were able to glimpse the glowing flames in the early hours of the morning as the Russian reconnaissance satellite plunged to its death. Kosmos-2551 was launched on September 9 from the Plesetsk military launch site in northern Russia, aboard a Soyuz 2-1v rocket, at 3:59 p.m. But it failed soon after because it failed to adjust its orbit even once since takeoff. It was reportedly stranded in low orbit, unable to climb to its intended altitude of 108 miles above Earth.
The spy satellite, which was to be used for Earth imagery, then fell from its original orbit and quickly disintegrated.
As she fell to Earth, a fireball ignited at around 12:43 a.m. EDT (5:43 a.m. UK time) and stunning footage of the incident was captured by the camera.
The trail was sighted from Harrisville, Pa. To Streator, Ill., With a total of 153 witness reports filed with the American Meteor Society (AMS).
AMS also received 12 videos and 13 photos of the fireball.
Jonathan McDowell, who is based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter that no one would be hurt by the incident.
He posted: “The satellite would weigh only about 500 kg [1,100 pounds] and no debris should reach the ground.
And an observer captured the breathtaking event on video.
Chris Johnson captured images of the burning satellite hovering over Fort Garrett in the US state of Michigan.
He told AMS: “I know it was a Russian satellite. But I wanted to report. It looks like I’m the farthest north so far to observe it.
“It was really breaking up when I saw him.”
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But while it’s a mind-boggling sight for some viewers, fireballs from space debris are a common occurrence.
Last year, the re-entry of the third stage of a Soyuz rocket made the sky light up in a dazzling spectacle during the launch of a Russian military satellite.
And as more satellites are sent into orbit as advances in technology accelerate, experts fear space waste will become an urgent problem, and urgent action has been suggested.