The OGO-1 (Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1) spacecraft, which happens to be the first in the series of six OGOs, is all set to make its way back to Earth after 56 years. The spacecraft had been set up at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in order to carry out geophysical experiments and study the magnetosphere of our planet. It had a successful launch in September 1964 and examined the interactions between the Sun and planet Earth, even though it was faced with some technical challenges at the time.
NASA predicts that the OGO-1 spacecraft will re-enter our atmosphere on August 29 at around 5:10 PM EDT.
"OGO-1 is predicted to re-enter on one of its next three perigees, the points in the spacecraft's orbit closest to our plant, and current estimates have OGO-1 re-entering Earth's atmosphere on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at about 5:10 p.m. EDT [2110 GMT], over the South Pacific approximately halfway between Tahiti and the Cook Islands.”
The OGO-1 will be tracked with the help of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations projects as it returns to Earth. The Space Agency has also stated that the OGO-1 will be entering our atmosphere today and also confirmed that it won’t have any kind of a negative impact on Earth nor will it harm the people. It further explained that the occurrence is, in fact, normal.
Earlier this week, The University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey team was able to shoot a few pictures of the OGO-1 as it was approaching the Earth. The survey was part of the asteroid survey operations funded by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
Image: Catalina Sky Survey/University of Arizona/NASA
The OGO-1 was able to collect necessary data over the next four years since its launch, however, the mission had to be called off in 1971 after it was no longer able to gather the required data. And while it was not operational, it had been placed in a standby mode in the orbit ever since.
It is worth noting that the OGO-1 will be the last spacecraft in its series to return to Earth as all of the other spacecraft which were all launched through the late ‘90s have already decayed long ago before coming back to Earth.
Image credits: NASA