In 1972, the USSR launched an automatic interplanetary station Venera 8 that safely reached Venus, landed on its surface, and was the first in the world to transmit information about it. A little later, another automatic interplanetary station Venera was launched but it was later renamed Kosmos 482, which never escaped low Earth orbit due to the failure of the upper stage. According to experts, in the coming years it may fall to the ground.
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American expert Jonathan McDowell said the device might fall anywhere in the world by the mid-2020s. «I expect it’ll have the usual one-in-about-10,000 chance of hitting someone. The vehicle is dense but inert and has no nuclear materials. No need for major concern,» McDowell said. He also denied the information published by Western media that the station would fall down this year.
Earlier, Russian astronomer and historian Pavel Shubin made a similar forecast, according to which the Soviet station would fall to the ground in the next 4 to 7 years. Based on his calculations, initially, the orbit parameters of the station with the upper stage were 220 and 9,800 kilometers. Over the past half-century, the spacecraft has descended to 2,400 kilometers, and in the coming years, the altitude of the orbit will be decreasing faster. When the station enters the Earth’s atmosphere, at least 500 kilograms of metal debris will reach the surface.