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Falling satellite likely to hit Africa, Canada, Australia or the ocean

September 23, 2011 |  6:47 pm

A map shows the potential paths of a falling NASA satellite, according to engineers at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, who were monitoring its movement.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is set to fall to Earth on Friday night or Saturday morning – but it will probably miss California.

Some people got the impression that the spacecraft would hit Southern California based on maps posted Friday that showed the area as one potential path for the satellite.

But experts said they doubt that the satellite poses any danger to the region.

Engineers with the Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo told KTLA-TV Channel 5  that the six-ton satellite was most likely to hit Africa, perhaps in the country of Chad.

A NASA official also told the San Diego Union-Tribune that California was an unlikely landing spot. More likely, the agency said, was Canada, Africa, Australia or the ocean.

"The risk to public safety is very remote," NASA said in a statement.

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--Shelby Grad

Image: Satellite’s projected orbit. Credit: KTLA-TV

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