An American-Japanese spacecraft known as “The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)” that was put in orbit 17 years ago is expected to fall in the Philippine territory on or about June 17, 2015. According to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spacecraft ran out of fuel last year and started its uncontrolled descent from orbit 250 miles above the earth.
“Most of the spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere during re-entry. Of the spacecraft’s total mass (about 5,800 lbs.), 96 percent will never reach Earth. The chance that a piece of the spacecraft will strike a person is approximately 1 in 4,200. This means that if the re-entry happened 4,200 times, we could expect that one person would be harmed.”
NASA said although it cannot predict the precise time and location where the spacecraft will re-enter the atmosphere, TRMM’s orbit brings it over the tropics between 35 degrees North latitude and 35 degrees South latitude, or including Philippine territory.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft, a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study rainfall for weather and climate research, ended its 17-year mission April 8.