Skip to comments.Doomed German Satellite to Fall to Earth This Weekend
Posted on 10/21/2011 12:50:44 PM PDT by Red Badger
A defunct German satellite is expected to fall to Earth this weekend, with experts predicting that up to 30 big pieces of the junked spacecraft could hit the planet. But exactly when and where the satellite will fall remains a mystery.
The 2.7-ton Roentgen Satellite, or ROSAT, will likely plummet to Earth on Saturday or Sunday (Oct. 22 or 23), according to the latest update from the German Aerospace Center.
"Currently, the re-entry date can only be calculated to within plus/minus one day," agency officials said in a statement. "This time slot of uncertainty will be reduced as the date of re-entry approaches. However, even one day before re-entry, the estimate will only be accurate to within plus/minus five hours."
ROSAT weighs about 5,348 pounds (2,426 kilograms) and launched into orbit in June 1990 as part of a joint mission by Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1998, the satellite's star tracker failed, which caused its X-ray sensors to point directly at the sun. This permanently damaged the spacecraft, and ROSAT was officially decommissioned in February 1999. [Photos of Doomed ROSAT Satellite]
The falling German satellite's impending plunge through the atmosphere comes about a month after an old NASA climate satellite also fell uncontrolled to Earth, in what was a much publicized event. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) splashed into the Pacific Ocean, well away from the North American coastline, on Sept. 24.
The ROSAT spacecraft is smaller than the UARS satellite, which was about the size of a school bus and weighed about 6 1/2 tons. Still, German space officials expect ROSAT to drop debris along a 50-mile (80-km) stretch of the Earth's surface.
The satellite's orbit reaches from the latitudes of 53 degrees north and south, which means ROSAT could fall anywhere in an area stretching from Canada to South America. While officials have stated that there is a 1-in-2,000 chance that a piece of ROSAT could strike someone somewhere on Earth, the odds of any debris landing in a densely populated area are remote.
Germany's X-ray ROSAT observatory is expected to break up as it falls to Earth, but some large pieces are expected to survive the intense heat of re-entry. Up to 30 pieces of debris, totaling 1.9 tons (1.7 metric tons), could reach the Earth's surface, German aerospace officials said. These fragments will likely be pieces of the satellite's heat resistant mirrors and ceramic parts.
Mission controllers are actively tracking the satellite as its orbit gradually decays, but officials will not be able to make more precise determinations of when and where the satellite will fall until a few hours before ROSAT impacts the Earth.
It’s not “re-entry.” It’s entry.
ROSAT ROAST THIS WEEKEND!
I are ready for satellite......
Evidently, it is aimed to fall on Pearl Harbor!
Greece is the perfect target for landfall...
Technically, if the satellite was built here in the earth’s atmosphere it is “re-entry”. But that is nitpicking.
I like the title ... DOOMED !!!
It’s DOOMED !! As if the satellite cares.
It’s probably carrying some space-born virus that going to start the Zombie Apocalypse. Lock and Load.
Zie famous Jerman precission ~ within ONE day!
What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! - Bluto
It’s all a real-life metaphor for what’s going to happen to the Euro’s own imminent fiery burn-up crash onto Earth’s planet-wide economic, political systems with even greater destructive force that what killed the dinosaurs. (Plot for new TV show)
In a world gone mad with greed and corruption, one object threatens all the Earth’s cities. Are they scheduled to end in a fiery apocalypse?........./End Movie Trailer Guy Voice.........
If you look up tomorrow night and see a glow getting bigger but not displaying a tail, better move to one side, a lot, and fast.
What if it comes down during the day?............
Yes, yes, it’s all coming back to me now. I remember those very exact words intoned in a mellifluously oozing bass (deeper than baritone) voice-over from some past decade. Thanks for jogging my memory.
Please Mecca...oh please oh please oh please.
I heard, Grover's Mill, New Jersey.
If you can’t see it, you probably won’t feel it.LOL
I hope it doesn’t hit anybody. But if it does I’m watching an ep of Dead Like Me in tribute to the fallen.
Oh, yes. Please,please, pretty please. With generous helpings of tabouleh and loads and loads of freshly made camel dung.
I hope it hits the EU headquarters...When no one is there, BTW.
Given my work schedule next week, could I please request a piece big enough to wound hit me? Nice and bloody, leave a good scar to impress the ladies, and get me on the morning shows for a few days.
I need that too...
Mein Gott! Dass ist das Satelletin!!!!
Chicken Little was right after all.
That was beautiful.
I hope anyone who gets hit will sue!
If they live.
Made by Volkswagen?
Mecca! good idea.... but I’d settle for Michael Moore!
Sorry...... Calculation = Calulation
Oh great, there goes all my weapons again.
Hit your refresh key to get latest position.
Art. Pure art.
Let him go, he’s on a roll.
Greece is the perfect target for landfall...
Can this satellite possibly be saved? I would hate to see it crash to earth for no good reason. But if it does hit earth, could it possibly fall into on of the areas where OWS is camping out?
Will it howl like a Stuka?
"Oh my God, they killed Kenny!"
Or be playing “Ride of the Valkyries.”
There’s one or two co-workers that could use a satellite drop-in.
From the looks of the bling on her she’ll be one of the eaten.