Zarya - Soviet, Russian and International Spaceflight
carousel image
Launches and Orbital Operations

Tyneside, UK
2019 Sep 15
Sunday, Day 258

Maintained by:


It's Going to Get Hot!

Air drag and, sometimes, gravitational effects cause satellites to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Occasionally, re-entry is caused by a deliberate decision of a satellite owner to fire a retro-rocket and bring some part of a space vehicle back to Earth.

Most re-entries result in the vehicle being destroyed by frictional heating as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere. Some fragments may get through and hit the Earth's surface - hence the system of TIP messages to warn of the event. Only a space vehicle fitted with a heat shield will get through the atmosphere for a landing.

NOTE - all dates and times on this page are UTC.

Anticipated Orbital Decays

Listed below are re-entries expected over the next 2-3 weeks. The table includes only large items such as satellites and rocket bodies. It excludes debris and planned events like a Soyuz spacecraft returning from the ISS.

Information comes from SpaceTrack and the list is updated each week on Thursday morning at about 01:00 UTC. Some objects may already have found their way into the list of recent orbital decays further down the page.

Cat No Designation Name (SpaceTrack) Predicted
43163    2018-010ADOVE PIONEER2019 Sep 182019 Sep 11
42914    1998-067NDTNS 0-22019 Oct 72019 Sep 11
44442    2019-042BGSLV R/B2019 Oct 82019 Sep 5
9927    1977-021DSL-6 R/B(2)2019 Oct 132019 Sep 5
39392    2013-064NSENSE SV22019 Oct 192019 Sep 11
44338    2019-035BCZ-3B R/B2019 Oct 192019 Sep 5
43709    2018-093DCZ-3B R/B2019 Oct 302019 Sep 5
39068    2013-003ASTSAT 2C2019 Nov 82019 Sep 11

Recent Orbital Decays

This table lists all known re-entries, whether natural or deliberate, that occurred over the last 2-3 weeks. Information is provided by Spacetrack and the list is updated daily around 01:00 UTC.

Cat No Designation Name (SpaceTrack) Actual
44152   2019-006APMICROSAT-R DEB2019 Sep 2
44441   2019-042ACHANDRAYAAN 22019 Sep 6
44504   2019-055ASOYUZ MS-142019 Sep 6
42919   2017-037DCOSMOS 25212019 Sep 12
30968   1999-025BBJFENGYUN 1C DEB2019 Sep 5

If TIP Messages were issued, the most recent are listed below. If the date/time in the "Message Issued" column is later than the "Estimated Date & Time", the Message is confirming that re-entry/decay has happened.

Cat No Designation Name (SpaceTrack) Estimated
Date & Time
Window Message Issued
9941  1977-032AMOLNIYA 3-72019 Aug 8 03:15±1 minutes2019 Aug 8 05:42
43939  2019-003HEPSILON DEB2019 Aug 7 22:26±5 minutes2019 Aug 8 01:15

Note on TIP Messages

Close to re-entry time for many items, SpaceTrack issues TIP Messages with a more-precise warning of the event. The meaning of the 'TIP' acronym is lost in history but SpaceTrack has made a guess at "Tracking and Impact Prediction".

TIP Messages are often a source of confusion as people take the predicted time literally and ignore the error margin (Window) that is also part of the message. In 2011 RIA-Novosti used a TIP Message to pinpoint a village in North Africa, doggedly insisting that would feel the full force of Phobos-Grunt when it re-entered. SpaceTrack's Window was actually ±2 days, representing over one million kilometres of ground track and a large proportion of the Earth's surface between 52° North and 52° South.

Copyright © Robert Christy, all rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited