NASA’s OGO-1 satellite derailed over the weekend, encountering the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrating due to intense friction. Launched in 1964, the satellite has spent more than half a century in space. The spacecraft was completely destroyed when it entered the atmosphere, leaving no debris.
NASA has launched many satellites over the years, of which the OGO-1 is a product of an era. The satellite was launched as early as the end of 1964. Incredibly, although its mission has long since been declared over, the satellite has continued to orbit the Earth for more than half a century. Last weekend, its journey was finally over.
As NASA explains, the spacecraft is one of six similar satellites that were launched every year until 1969. Each of these satellites has already returned to Earth , burning in the Earth’s atmosphere , with the exception of the OGO-1 satellite . The first OGO satellite was in orbit until 29 August 2020.
Many of NASA’s satellites were built to study all aspects of the universe, while OGO satellites were built to study the Earth itself. Each spacecraft is equipped with instruments to study the Earth’s magnetic field, making it possible for scientists to understand the protective shields that protect our planet from all kinds of space hazards.
“OGO-1 was launched into an eccentric orbit around the Earth, and it took the spacecraft about two days to complete an orbit and allow the spacecraft to sweep through the Earth’s radiation belt, studying our planet’s magnetosphere, the space region around the Earth, controlled by the Earth’s magnetic field.” NASA explained. “OGO-1 ran and returned five years of scientific data before 1969, after which the spacecraft was put in standby mode when scientists were unable to return more data. All support for the mission was terminated in 1971. “
Like many decommissioned satellites, when OGO-1 returned to Earth over the weekend, it was quickly disintegrating after intense friction in the Earth’s thick atmosphere. The resulting “fireworks” were caught on camera. As you can see in the image above, the satellite left nothing behind and no instances of debris falling to the ground were reported.