American satellite missing for more than 20 years suddenly "reappears"

The missing satellite was found after 25 years of orbiting the Earth without being detected.

According to Space, the Infra-Red Calibration Balloon (S73-7) satellite launched in 1974 disappeared from radar twice, in the 1970s and 1990s, and was only found after 25 years drifting in space.

The S73-7 satellite was launched on April 10, 1974 as part of the United States Air Force's Space Test Program. Its initial mission was to act as a calibration target for remote sensing equipment. However, after deployment, the satellite was unable to inflate and perform this function. It then disappeared from the view of ground monitors.

On April 25, satellite S73-7 was suddenly rediscovered thanks to tracking data from American space scientists. Identifying the satellite is challenging because it has disappeared from radar twice and has a very low radar cross-section. However, scientists used a combination of orbital data and images to confirm that this is satellite S73-7.

A KH-9 Hexagon satellite of the same type as S73-7.

A KH-9 Hexagon satellite of the same type as S73-7.

The discovery of satellite S73-7 is an important event for the space science community. It shows the importance of tracking objects in space, especially space debris, which can pose a threat to other satellites and spacecraft.

In fact, the Earth is facing a sky filled with garbage. Because above the atmosphere is the planet's orbit, where space objects "reside", because they are not pulled to the ground and cannot fly out into space. According to a recent estimate by the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), there are about 1 million large and small pieces of space junk in this area.

This event also highlights the importance of improving the ability to track objects in space. With more and more satellites being launched into orbit, tracking and managing space debris will become more important.

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