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12 October 2011

A failure to De-Orbit

A two-and-a-half ton German-made satellite is estimated to re-enter the earth's atmosphere soon.
Back in 1999 scientists lost contact with the two-and-a-half ton satellite. It is predicted to re-enter earth's atmosphere at the end of this month.

The German Aerospace Centre said 30 'individual pieces weighing a total of 1.6 tons may reach the surface of the earth.'
ROSAT’s heat-resistant mirror in particular may not burn up upon re-entry and falling debris may include razor-sharp shards.
Unlike the UARS, this one's coming in uncontrollably. Major Tom's retro thrusters have failed. It's raining shreds. Or so forth, and so on.
Last month the German space agency estimated that ROSAT has a 1-in-2000 chance of hitting someone - higher than the 1-in-3,200 odds NASA gave for UARS, the last satellite to fall.
It must have run out of Fahrvergnügen or something.

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