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British-built satellite deliberately crashed into Atlantic in world first | UK News

Aeolus, a British-built weather-monitoring satellite, has been deliberately crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

It is the first time a satellite has been guided to perform an assisted crash on Earth, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Aeolus has been providing data to weather centres across Europe since 2018, and was the first satellite mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale.

It was due to be in orbit for three years but outlasted its mission by almost two more.

The 1,360kg craft was built by Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage.

Aeolus. Pic: European Space Agency
Pic: European Space Agency

Under normal circumstances, it would have fallen back to Earth naturally, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere after reaching an altitude of about 50 miles.

Instead, it was guided to its final resting place by mission controllers at the ESA, using what little fuel remained onboard.

Aeolus had been falling from its operational altitude since 19 June and performed its first major re-entry manoeuvre on 24 July.

Simulations by the agency suggest some debris may survive the heat of the planet’s atmosphere, although the risk of it causing any damage is said to be small.

The ESA said: “The Aeolus mission control team in Germany is now wrapping up after a long week of complex operations.

“They have done everything they planned in what is a first-of-its-kind assisted re-entry.”

Aeolus. Pic: European Space Agency
Pic: European Space Agency

Dr Jenifer Millard, an astronomer and co-host of the Awesome Astronomy Podcast, said that “nowadays, when satellites are put up, there has to be some sort of mechanism on board to help them come back through the atmosphere safely”.

Alternatively, they have to “entirely burn up in our atmosphere”, she told Sky News.

Dr Millard said the successful return of Aeolus was a “huge achievement to help us manage space debris”.

About 20% of the craft may have survived re-entry, Dr Millard said, amounting to a few hundred kilogrammes.

It is a boost for the UK space industry, she added.

“We are pioneering, we are world-leading in this,” she said.

Mortgages cost extra £530 per month after Tories ‘crashed’ economy, Labour claims | UK News

Liz Truss’s “disastrous premiership” means British families are spending an extra £530 a month on their mortgage than they were a year ago, Labour has claimed.

The Opposition claims the effects of higher interest rates will be felt by tens of thousands of households for years to come.

Labour’s analysis is based on the current average property price in the UK – which is £295,903 – and assumes there is a 70% mortgage on a 30-year term, meaning £207,132 is being borrowed.

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Annual interest rates stood at 2.25% last October, meaning that the typical monthly repayment in that scenario would have been £791.75.

But when Ms Truss stepped down on Thursday, rates had surged to 6.65% – taking repayments to £1,329.72, an increase of 68%.

Labour’s figures suggest that – over a two-year period – this would be an extra £12,911.06 that households need to find.

According to UK Finance, 1.8 million people will need to secure a new deal next year, which is about 26% of all mortgages.

Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy has warned tens of thousands of households will be paying higher mortgages for years “because the Conservatives crashed the economy”.

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Ms Nandy said: “This is a Tory crisis, made in Downing Street and being paid for by working people … Despite the U-turns, the damage has been done.

“Even now, families are still paying more because the government has lost all credibility. The Tories simply cannot be trusted with the economy.”

Responding to Labour’s analysis, a Treasury spokesperson said: “Growth requires confidence and stability.

“A central responsibility for any government is do what is necessary for economic stability, and we have done so.”

Man found dead in crashed car two days after he was reported missing | UK News

A man’s body has been discovered in a crashed car by police two days after he was reported missing.

John Winton McNab, 86, was the driver of a grey Mercedes B, which was found at about 1.20pm on Sunday 18 September following the incident in the Highlands.

Mr McNab, from Perth, had been reported missing on Friday 16 September, Police Scotland confirmed.

The crash happened on the A887 at Invermoriston and an investigation is now under way.

Mr McNab’s family has thanked all those involved in looking for him.

In a statement released by police, the family said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in the search to trace Winton, these efforts are greatly appreciated by the family.

“We request that our privacy is respected at this sad time.”

The independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has been instructed to investigate his death.

PIRC was told by the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and will report to them.

Police Scotland said it had also referred the incident to PIRC.

The force added that enquiries to establish the full circumstances of what happened were ongoing.

It has urged anyone with information about the crash who has not yet spoken to an officer to contact them by calling 101, quoting reference 1660 of 18 September 2022.