NASA Satellite Will Crash Into Earth Tonight. Chances of It Causing Harm Are '1 in 2,467.' The old spacecraft is expected to burn up as it reenters the atmosphere.

By Jonathan Small

Don't look up.

The U.S. Department of Defenses says a dead NASA 600-pound satellite will hurtle back into the Earth's atmosphere on Wednesday night.

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) has been floating in space for over 20 years, observing and recording more than 100,000 solar events. But it was decommissioned in 2018.

NASA and the Dept of Defense predict it will crash into Earth in a few hours, but the chances of it hitting "anyone on Earth is low" with odds about 1 in 2,467. said a spokesperson for NASA.

Earlier today, officials in Kyiv speculated the satellite may have fallen on their city after a mysterious flash lit up the skies over the Ukrainian capital. But NASA told the BBC the satellite had not reached Earth yet.

Why is the satellite crashing to Earth?

Dead satellites don't travel fast enough to go past the curve of the planet before being pulled down to the surface. When gravity takes over, it causes the satellite falls to Earth.

Smaller satellites, such as RHESSI, will often burn up in the atmosphere as they descend. But some parts can still remain intact and strike Earth.

Related: A Museum Is Offering $25,000 to Find the Meteorite That Just Struck Earth

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

Katy Perry Is Fighting the Founder of 1-800-Flowers for a $15 Million California Mansion He Doesn't Want to Sell Her

The eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom estate sits on nearly nine acres in the Santa Ynez foothills in Montecito.

Business News

'It's F--king Mind-Blowing': Howard Stern Slams Oprah Winfrey Over How She Spends Her Wealth

The contentious radio show host did not hold back on his Sirius XM show on Monday.

Business Culture

What Is the 'Coffee Cup Test'? Watch Out For This Tricky Interview Trend.

Some people find this recent hiring trend impractical, while others think it's a sign of character. Either way, here's what you should know about it.

Business News

'Please Fix This': Elon Musk Frantically Emails Employees During Livestream Glitch

Musk attempted to livestream his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Business News

Costco Isn't Facing Devastating Surges in Theft Like Target and Walmart — and the Reason Is Very Simple

The retailer's CFO revealed its strategy during a fourth-quarter-earnings call.

Business News

Dad Pisses Off Thousands With TikTok Explaining How to Hack Disney Ride Height Restrictions for Kids

TikTokers The Kelly Fam made platform shoes out of flip-flops and Gorilla glue so their 3-year-old could sneak onto big rides.