• Germany's news in English

German satellite falling toward Earth

AFP · 23 Oct 2011, 10:38

Published: 23 Oct 2011 10:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Röntgen Satellite (ROSAT), an X-ray observatory, made its re-entry between 1:45 GMT and 2:15 GMT on Sunday, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) said in a statement.

"There is currently no confirmation if pieces of debris have reached Earth's surface," the statement added.

According to estimates cited last week, as many as 30 individual pieces weighing a total of 1.7 tonnes could reach the surface of the Earth.

But Andreas Schütz, spokesman for the DLR, said they would have to "wait for data in the next days" to know when and where the debris could fall.

Last week, DLR officials said ROSAT was expected to return to Earth between October 22 and 23, travelling at a speed of about 28,000 kilometres (17,000 miles) per hour.

Solar radiation, which heats up the Earth's atmosphere, increases the atmospheric drag and makes it hard to estimate the date of re-entry.

As the spacecraft re-enters the atmosphere, the x-ray observatory would break up into pieces, some of which will burn up, they said.

"The largest single fragment will probably be the telescope's mirror, which is very heat resistant," it added.

However, statistically speaking, there is very little danger to humans from space junk, experts have said. The debris will almost certainly fall in the sea or on an uninhabited piece of land.

During its mission, ROSAT operated at distances of up to 585 kilometres above Earth's surface, but it has lost altitude since its decommissioning, and in June 2011 it was about 327 kilometres above the ground.

A controlled re-entry was not possible at the end of its mission in 1999 because the spacecraft does not have a propulsion system on board, the officials said.

Story continues below…

ROSAT was launched in June 1990 to allow researchers to perform an all-sky survey of X-ray sources with an imaging telescope for the first time.

Last month, a bus-sized US satellite that hurtled unpredictably toward Earth crossed over Africa and the northern Atlantic before plunging into the Pacific Ocean off California, NASA said.

There were no sightings or reliable accounts of damage as the six-tonne Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell from the sky.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

02:58 October 24, 2011 by DOZ
Damn it missed Prime Minister Steven Harper's home.
Today's headlines
Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd