A NASA satellite launched back in 1964 made its final journey in a return to Earth over the weekend, disintegrating as it shot through the atmosphere.
The satellite, Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1 (OGO-1), was launched back in September 1964 to help us better understand planet Earth. It was the first of six satellites with the same mission launched between 1964 and 1969.
Specifically, the nearly 500-kilogram satellite was designed to learn how the planet’s magnetosphere — Earth’s magnetic field in space — operated. Its mission finished up five years later in 1969 after it was placed in standby mode. Decades later, and long after the other five satellites had disintegrated, it continued to orbit around Earth, persisting as retro space junk.
NASA explained the craft would break up upon hitting the atmosphere and that’s exactly what happened to OGO-1.
At around 7am on Sunday morning AEST, the ’60s satellite made its final flight back to Earth over the French Polynesian sky, breaking apart into fiery pieces.
“This is a normal final operational occurrence for retired spacecraft,” NASA said of OGO-1’s final flight.
The NASA satellite was originally spotted a few days earlier by University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey. It was suspected to be an asteroid on course for a collision with Earth.
NASA later confirmed it was none other than a forgotten scientific project, left to traverse space for decades.
Vale, OGO-1. Make a Disney short about it already.