The Atlantic

The Controversial ‘Humanity Star’ Is Coming Back to Earth Early

A shiny satellite launched in January will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere a few months ahead of schedule.
Source: Rob Griffith / AP

Updated on March 20 at 5:53 p.m. ET

Humanity will come crashing down earlier than expected.

The Humanity Star, a satellite launched into space in January, will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate sometime this week, according to websites that track the movement of objects in orbit around the planet. The satellite was always going to come back down. But it was supposed to remain in orbit for nine months, according to Rocket Lab, the U.S. spaceflight company, based in New Zealand, that built the satellite.

SatView and Space-Track, databases that track all artificial satellites and space probes around Earth, forecast that the Humanity star will reenter the atmosphere sometime on Thursday, March 22. (See SatView’s page here, and Space-Track’s page here.) Rocket Lab’s own tracker shows that the satellite’s altitude is already steadily dropping.

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