The U.S. military's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) is investigating the possible breakup of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellite in Earth orbit.
“On 25 November 2015 at 0816z (3:16 a.m. EST) the JSpOC identified a possible breakup of NOAA 16,” officials reported. “All associated objects have been added to conjunction assessment screenings, and satellite operators will be notified of close approaches between the debris and active satellites. The JSpOC will catalog the debris objects as soon as sufficient data is available.”
After more than 13 years of helping predict weather and climate patterns and save lives in search and rescue operations, NOAA announced in June 2014 it had turned off the NOAA 16 Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite. It was one of NOAA's longest operating spacecraft, which have a planned lifespan of three to five years.