Here we go again, this time it’s the German’s turn to randomly drop [expletive deleted] from orbit.
A big German satellite near the end of life is expected to plunge back to Earth this month, just weeks after a NASA satellite fell from orbit, and where this latest piece of space junk will hit is a mystery.
The 2.4-ton spacecraft, Germany’s Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT), is expected to fall Oct. 22 or 23.
The satellite will break up into fragments, some of which will disintegrate due to intense re-entry heat. But studies predict that about 1.6 tons of satellite leftovers could reach the Earth’s surface. That’s nearly half ROSAT’s entire mass.
There is a 1-in-2,000 chance that debris from the satellite could hit someone on Earth, though the likelihood of an injury is extremely remote, German space officials say. For German citizens, the risk of being struck is much lower, about 1 in 700,000.
All areas under the orbit of ROSAT, which extends to 53 degrees northern and southern latitude, could be in the strike zone of the satellite’s re-entry.
Falling ROSAT satellite to make reentry between Oct. 21 – 25
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The ROSAT Mission
You’d think that by now, we’d have the technology to orbit powered drones with robotic arms that could guide these massive dead satellites into a controlled deorbit.
/joking about a 1 in 2000 chance of getting hit by tons of space junk moving at terminal velocity is all fun and games until someone actually gets hurt
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