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NASA spacecraft set to reenter Sunday
Posted: Fri, Apr 5, 2002, 10:31 AM ET (1531 GMT)
HETE spacecraft illustration (NASA) A NASA spacecraft and its upper stage are predicted to reenter the Earth's atmosphere on Sunday morning, the space agency announced Thursday. The High Energy Transient Experiment 1 (HETE-1) spacecraft, along with the Argentine SAC-B satellite and their Pegasus upper stage, are expected to reenter the atmosphere at approximately 7 am EDT (1100 GMT) Sunday. The exact time and location of the reentry are unknown because the reentry will be uncontrolled and solar flux variations will prevent an exact prediction from being made until a few hours before reentry. The combined mass of the two spacecraft and their upper stage is about 535 kg; about 15 kg worth of stainless steel batteries are expected to survive reentry and reach the ground. The spacecraft were launched in November 1996 on a Pegasus booster but the booster's upper stage failed to release the two spacecraft, preventing either from operating. NASA launched HETE-2, a replacement for HETE-1, in October 2000.
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