Giant Batteries from ISS Orbital Station About to Fall to Earth

Already performing poorly, they were detached in 2021 and are scheduled to burn up completely in the atmosphere on the afternoon of Saturday, March 9. But this is not certain

The “space debris” weighs 2.6 tons and has the size of a minivan. It is the giant nickel-hydrogen electric battery pack from the International Space Station (ISS), which, having exhausted its technical life, was detached from the ISS on March 21, 2021. For a good three years now, the box referred to as space object EP-9 has been orbiting Earth, but on Saturday, March 9, 2024, the moment of “cremation” has arrived.

According to NASA, the electric battery pack should “for the most part” burn up in the atmosphere. The key words are “for the most part.” “Although some parts may touch the ground, the probability of human impact is very low,” the European Space Agency (ESA) also said.

Since 2.6 tons of a robust structure designed for long drag in space will enter the Earth’s atmosphere uncontrollably, it is quite impossible to predict the reentry zone.

However, the ESA “clarified” that re-entry should occur between –51.6 degrees south latitude and 51.6 degrees north latitude. “Large uncertainties, mainly due to changes in atmospheric drag levels, prevent more accurate predictions at this time. The closer we get to the expected return window, the better geographically constrained the affected region will be,” the ESA representative emphasized to the international media.

And to reassure the inhabitants of Earth, the European Space Agency noted that “this is a fairly common situation.” “A large space object naturally re-enters the atmosphere about once a week, with most of its associated fragments burning up before reaching the ground. Most spacecraft, launch vehicles, and operational equipment are designed to limit the risks associated with re-entry,” emphasized ESA.

La mappa che fa vedere la "regione" del rientro in atmosfera delle batterie dell'ISS