The Little Satellite That Could

  • Released Thursday, March 30th, 2017
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:47PM
  • ID: 12559

The satellite was tiny, the size of a small refrigerator, only supposed to last one year and constructed and operated on a shoestring budget — yet it persisted for a total of 17 years on orbit.

On March 30, 2017, the satellite was powered off due to a lack of fuel, and will slowly spiral down to Earth. It is expected to burn up in the atmosphere in 2056.

“The Earth Observing-1 satellite is like ‘The Little Engine That Could’,” said Betsy Middleton, project scientist for the satellite at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. With more than 1,500 research papers generated and 180,000 images captured, the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite has exceeded expectations in both its technology and research goals, as well as longevity.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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