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Freefalling NASA satellite on track to hit Earth on Friday

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | 4:27 p.m. CDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A dead 6-ton satellite is getting closer, andis expected to hit Earth Friday.

Experts say Friday remains the most likely day that the NASA research satellite will come crashing down through the atmosphere. An estimated 26 pieces — totalling 1,200 pounds — are expected to survive.

NASA is anticipating a splashdown rather than a landing. Nearly three-quarters of the world is covered with water. The Aerospace Corporation in California predicts that re-entry will occur over the Pacific Ocean late Friday afternoon — give or take 14 hours.

The 20-year-old Upper Research Atmosphere Satellite will be the biggest NASA spacecraft to fall uncontrolled from the sky in 32 years.


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