German Satellite to Hit Earth This Week

ROSAT re-entering over the weekend
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 4:00 AM CDT
German ROSAT Satellite to Hit Earth This Week
An artist's impression of ROSAT.   (NASA)

(Newser) – The Germans now have a better idea of when and where their defunct ROSAT satellite will plummet to Earth. The county's aerospace officials believe that the dead space telescope will make an uncontrolled re-entry sometime between Friday and Tuesday, most likely on Saturday or Sunday. Its landing is expected to be somewhere along a path that includes much of the Americas, LiveScience reports. Around 1.7 tons of debris, mostly large pieces of glass and ceramics, are expected to survive re-entry—and scientists say there is a 1 in 2,000 chance of that debris ruining somebody's weekend.

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ROSAT's fall to Earth is the second high-profile satellite plunge in two months, and German scientists say they learned a lot from the demise of NASA's UARS satellite. "We know now a little better how to interpret all the data and use the global network," the chief of Germany's space agency says. "It was an advantage that the satellite came down before so that now we can look at how to deal with ROSAT and how we deal with this in the future." (Read more ROSAT stories.)

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