back to article ESA's ERS-2 satellite began to come apart earlier than predicted

The European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite has re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. While no damage to property was reported, some impressive shots were taken of the spacecraft starting to buckle as it approached re-entry. The images were taken by the German Fraunhofer Institute for High Energy Physics and Radar Techniques and …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Side effects?

    Given the number of satellites that will eventually perform a 'a controlled re-entry', this article is of potential interest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Side effects?

      An occasional satellite burning up in atmosphere will have about as much effect on Earth's climate as a fart in a hurricane.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Why no pictures?

    Just a 'said...' link, with no hint that there might be pictures there.

    Still, I suppose it's better than linking to twitter images.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why no pictures?

      ESA and Fraunhofer posted images.

      Lazy journalists ;-)

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Why no pictures?

      Link here (English language):

      Three images showing degradation of the solar array. rather low resolution, but quite interesting.

      After an extremely successful mission and nearly 30 years in orbit, ESA's ERS-2 entered the atmosphere on February 21, 2024, at around 6:17 p.m. CET (5:17 p.m. UTC). Prior to that, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) had measured the ESA satellite several times for about a week. The last images of ERS-2 tumbling through the sky were recorded by the 34-meter antenna system of TIRA around 8:00 a.m. CET on February 21, about 10 orbits before re-entry. Interestingly, the solar panels of ERS-2 appear to be already bent and partially detached from the rest of the satellite at that time. "In our data, we can see a clear bend in the solar panels on the one hand, and artifacts that could be caused by rapid uncontrolled 'fluttering' on the other hand," says Felix Rosebrock, radar expert at Fraunhofer FHR. "This is particularly remarkable since changes to the structure were captured in images for the first time during re-entry."

  3. BPontius

    The black and white, grainy pictures look like a Empire Tie Fighter from Star Wars.

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