After completing its mission in orbit, ESA’s wind mission Aeolus will soon reenter Earth’s atmosphere. Currently orbiting 320 km above, Aeolus is being kept in orbit with its remaining fuel. This fuel is running out, and the satellite will soon succumb to Earth’s atmosphere and gravity.
Going above and beyond what the satellite was technically designed to do, ESA is attempting a first-of-its-kind assisted reentry to reduce the (already very small) risk of damage from any fragments that survive the journey and reach the ground.
ESA held an online media briefing on 19 July 2023 to explain more about this assisted approach and answer questions.