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EUVE Spacecraft Re-enters Earth's Atmosphere

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2002

NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at approximately 11:15 p.m. EST Wednesday. According to calculations made by the United States Space Command Space Control Center, EUVE re-entered the atmosphere over central Egypt.

"The actual location of EUVE's re-entry was within the predicted orbit track," said Scott Hull, spacecraft engineering lead for space science mission operations, at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "We expected EUVE could come in at a number of points along the ground track."

EUVE did not have an on-board propulsion system to allow engineers to control the spacecraft's re-entry. Using U.S. Space Command data, engineers calculated EUVE's orbit track and predicted where it could re-enter the atmosphere. EUVE was in a 28.5-degree orbit and could re-enter in any location within this orbit range. This range included areas as far north as Orlando, Fla., and as far south as Brisbane, Australia.

The object was not designed to survive re-entry intact and was expected to break apart and mostly burn up in the atmosphere. U.S. Space Command cannot confirm if any pieces survived re-entry.

EUVE was launched on July 7, 1992. Science operations ended in December 2000. During its eight years in orbit, EUVE was the first astrophysics mission to explore the extreme ultraviolet-and helped to bridge the gap in our understanding of this previously unknown spectrum. EUVE observed more than 1,000 nearby sources, including more than three dozen objects outside our galaxy.

Additional background information about EUVE is available at http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/euve/euve.html

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