A 20-year-old satellite will come crashing back to Earth tomorrow morning.

NASA is unable to predict exactly when or where the space junk will land.

Gemma Boase reports.


This upper atmosphere research satellite is circling the Earth 16 times a day. It was put into orbit in 1991 to map the hole in the ozone layer above the North Pole.

But tomorrow it will come crashing down.

Engineers expect most of the bus-sized satellite will burn up upon re-entry, but some remnants could reach Earth.

NASA says it’s difficult to predict where it will land, but they say the debris footprint will be more than 800 kilometres long.

In the 50 years of the space race there have been no known cases of serious injury by satellite debris.

As the it draws closer, scientists will be able to better predict the likely landing point, but for now, people will have to wait.

If you really want to keep an eye on the satellite’s progress android users can download a smartphone app which has been equipped with tracking technology. Just point the camera at the sky and it will show you the satellite’s path.

Gemma Boase, QUT News.