Isro attempts 'extremely challenging' re-entry of decommissioned satellite

Isro attempts 'extremely challenging' re-entry of decommissioned satellite

ISRO identified an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean between 5 degrees south to 14 degrees south latitude and 119 degrees west to 100 degrees west longitude as the targeted re-entry zone for the( Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT1).

MT1 was launched on October 12, 2011, as a joint satellite venture of ISRO and the French space agency CNES for tropical weather and climate studies.

Although the mission life of the satellite was originally three years, the satellite continued to provide valuable data services for more than a decade supporting regional and global climate models till 2021, the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency noted in a statement on Sunday.

Since Aug 2022, 18 orbit maneuvers have been performed to progressively lower the orbit and on March 7 ground impact is expected to take place between 4.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. IST

The UN’s space debris mitigation guidelines recommend de-orbiting a low Earth orbit (LEO) object at its end-of-life, preferably through controlled re-entry to a safe impact zone, or by bringing it to an orbit where the orbital lifetime is less than 25 years.

The orbital lifetime of MT1, weighing about 1,000 kilograms, would have been more than 100 years in its 20-degree inclined operational orbit of 867 km altitude. About 125 kg on-board fuel remained unutilized at its end-of-mission which could pose risks for the accidental break-up. This leftover fuel was estimated to be sufficient to achieve a fully-controlled atmospheric re-entry.

The re-entry experiment of MT1 has been undertaken as a part of the ongoing efforts as this satellite with sufficient left-over fuel presented a unique opportunity to test the relevant methodologies and understand the associated operational nuances of post mission disposal by direct re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, it was stated.

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