The Soviet Union launched the Cosmos 482 Venus probe on March 31, 1972. But the spacecraft messed up its rocket-powered escape to that cloud-veiled world and got trapped in Earth orbit…. But Cosmos 482 got stranded in an Earth parking orbit, Mitchell told Space.com. Some hardware from that failed flight — a heavy frame of tanks and equipment that was jettisoned — fell into Earth’s atmosphere in rather short order. But some remained aloft.
A big chunk of that failed craft remains in orbit today as space junk — but it’s due to come down soon, perhaps as early as this year, experts said.
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