Re-Entry: Detla II – Payload Assist Module

Star 48 - Photo: Orbital ATK
Star 48 – Photo: Orbital ATK

The Payload Assist Module of a Delta II rocket that launched the Navstar 52 GPS navigation satellite into orbit in 2003 re-entered the atmosphere on September 25, 2016 after well over a decade spiraling down from Medium Earth Transfer Orbit.

NORAD ID: 27706
Origin: USA
Object: Delta II R/B – Payload Assist Module D
Type: Star 48 Solid Rocket Motor
Mass: ~155kg (inert)
Inclination: 38.7°
Launched: March 31, 2003 – 22:09 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925-9.5
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Launch the NavStar 52 (USA-168) GPS Navigation Satellite

Re-Entry Prediction: September 25, 2016 – 22:38 UTC +/-2 Min.
Re-Entry Zone: Arkansas, Mississippi, Gulf of Mexico

Technical Description: Star 48 was introduced in 1982 and has been used on a variety of spacecraft. Star 48B was spin stabilized and had smaller a performance than the TVC capable version.
The upper stage features a 1.24-meter diameter titanium casing holding a total of 2,010 Kilograms of solid propellant.
It is 2.08 meters in length and has a launch mass of 2,165 Kilograms. It operates at an average thrust of 68.6 Kilonewtons (6,995kg) with peak thrust reaching 77.8kN (7,930kg).

Re-Entry Orbits
Image: Spaceflight101/Orbitron
Image: Spaceflight101/Orbitron