The German ROentgen SATellite, or ROSAT, is expected to return to Earth between Oct. 21 – 24, according to the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The DLR website
states: “the reentry date can only be calculated to within plus/minus three days. This time slot of uncertainty will be reduced as the date of reentry approaches. However, even one day before reentry, the estimate will only be accurate to within plus/minus five hours. Up to 30 individual pieces may reach the surface of the Earth. The largest single fragment will probably be the telescope's mirror, which is very heat-resistant and may weigh up to 1.7 tons.” All areas under ROSAT’s orbit, which extends to 53 degrees northern and southern latitude, might be affected by its reentry.
The German-owned and operated satellite was launched by NASA in 1990 and is credited with X-ray images of structures in the Milky Way and other galaxies. Because ROSAT doesn’t have a propulsion system on board, a controlled reentry at the end of its mission in 1999 wasn’t possible.
AGI engineers used our software
to create the following video, which shows:
- ROSAT in its current orbit
- The satellite’s ground track
- Its burn-up in reentry
*Video updated 10-20 at 10:40 am
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