ATTENTION People of Earth. One of the premier spacecraft construction companies in the world, SES, confirmed today that one of its satellites is currently spiraling out of control and could head towards Earth in the next few days. A company spokesperson said they lost control of the satellite on June 17 and is still attempting to locate it.
The AMC-9 satellite, which was orbiting some 16,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, began spiraling out of control following a “significant anomaly” late last month as a resolute of some unknown incident. SES bills itself as a provider of “reliable and secure satellite and ground communications solutions”, said in the last few days the satellite has began breaking apart.
Currently, the low-orbit designated area around the Earth is littered with thousands of pieces of space debris. Everything from both working and defunct satellites to discarded rocket boosters form a patchwork quilt around our planet. The space around our planet is so crowded that a whole industry has developed that plots and tracks this junk.
SES says they have hired one of these space situational awareness company ExoAnalytic Solutions to monitor the drifting debris from the equipment. On the topic of the current satellite situation, ExoAnalytic’s CEO, Doug Hendrix, said, “While it is unclear what caused the anomaly, we have seen several pieces come off of it over the past several days. We are tracking at least one of the pieces. I would hesitate to say we know for sure what happened.”
While it is expected that any pieces that do fall to Earth will simply burn up when re-entering the atmosphere, the real worry is that it adds to the already congested layer of space already crowded with the thousands of pieces of space junk in the planet’s orbit. Experts say these pieces can range in size from that of a nut or bolt to dozens of feet in length. The major problem comes when one piece collides with another and sends both piece off in different directions, to either crash into the Earth or into something else. The space junk adds yet another layer of concern for future space launches and re-entry of spacecraft, as a collision could easily damage a manned vehicle.
SES says they currently have no idea were their wayward Satellite may eventually strike the Earth but will continue to monitor the situation.