London: After the six-tonne UARS satellite of NASA that crashed into the Pacific ocean over a week ago, another is approaching fast for a fiery death plunge soon.
This time, it`s a defunct German space telescope called
ROSAT, which is set to hit the planet at the end of October or
early November, scientists said.
While slightly smaller than UARS, the German satellite is
expected to have more pieces survive re-entry, the Daily Mail
The German space agency estimated that it has a 1-in-2000
chance of hitting someone -- higher than the 1-in-3,200 odds
NASA gave for UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite).
The two-and-a-half-tonne satellite, which was launched in
1990, "died" in 1998 and since orbiting the Earth.
The German space agency has estimated that 30 pieces of
the satellite will survive re-entry and the debris may include
sharp mirror shards.
The German space agency puts the odds of somebody on
Earth being hurt by its satellite at 1-in-2,000, a slightly
higher level of risk than was calculated for the UARS which
fell in the Pacific ocean on September 24.
Again, it seems certain that information on when or where
the satellite might land will be scant.
Heiner Klinkrad, head of the Space Debris Office at the
European Space Agency, said in a webcast posted on the German
Aerospace Center`s website: "It is not possible to accurately
predict ROSAT`s re-entry.
"The uncertainty will decrease as the moment of re-entry
approaches. It will not be possible to make any kind of
reliable forecast about where the satellite will actually come
down until about one or two hours before the fact."