October 23, 2021

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Defunct weather satellite breaks up in Earth orbit

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A U.S. weather satellite that retired eight years ago has fallen apart in orbit, breaking into at least 16 pieces of space junk, according to government representatives.

The satellite, dubbed NOAA-17 after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that operated it, launched in 2002 and was decommissioned in 2013 after its instruments began to fail. NOAA-17 broke up on March 10, according to the Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron based in California, as was first reported by SpaceNews.





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