Italian satellite plunges right into Pacific Ocean

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 01 May 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: All fragments of the Italian-made Bepposax satellite have entered the earth’s atmosphere and plunged into the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos and Kiribaki islands yesterday. 

The first fragment entered the atmosphere between 100 and 160 west longitude, west of Ecuador, South America, at 7.30am, with the last fragment impacting about one-and-a -half hours later. 

National Space Agency director-general Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman said Malaysians, especially those staying in areas where the fragments could fall, should no longer be worried. 

“From information relayed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), all the fragments have impacted between 7.30am and 9am yesterday. 

Further data on the speed of the satellite and the number of actual fragments are being studied by the ASI. 


Prof Mazlan said so far the ASI had yet to receive any report on probable injuries caused by the impacting fragments. 

All of the fragments from the 1.4-tonne Bepposax satellite, deactivated on April 30 last year, had fallen due to uncontrolled re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, she said. 


The satellite, a joint space radiation project between the ASI and the Netherlands Space Agency, was launched into orbit on April 30, 1996 by Atlas GCentaur. 


The fragments were expected to fall within a band straddling the equator that included Malaysia between 9pm yesterday until noon on May 3. – Bernama 

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