Highlights

  • Retired NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite reentered atmosphere on January 8
  • Satellite reentered the atmosphere over the Bering Sea
  • Was launched from the Space Shuttle Challenger on Oct. 5, 1984

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Earth Radiation Budget Satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere at 11:04 p.m. EST on Jan. 8, after almost four decades in space. For 21 of its years in orbit, the ERBS actively investigated how the Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the Sun: NASA

After almost 40 years circling Earth, a retired NASA science satellite plunged harmlessly through the atmosphere off the coast of Alaska, NASA reported .

The Defense Department confirmed that the satellite - placed in orbit in 1984 by astronaut Sally Ride - reentered late Sunday night over the Bering Sea, a few hundred miles from Alaska.

NASA said it's received no reports of injury or damage from falling debris.

Late last week, NASA said it expected most of the 5,400-pound (2,450-kilogram) Earth Radiation Budget Satellite to burn up in the atmosphere, but that some pieces might survive. The space agency put the odds of falling debris injuring someone at 1-in-9,400.

Space shuttle Challenger carried the satellite into orbit and the first American woman in space set it free. The satellite measured ozone in the atmosphere and studied how Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the sun, before being retired in 2005, well beyond its expected working lifetime.

Also Watch: NASA's lunar capsule Orion is headed back home

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