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ROSAT Satellite To Fall Back to Earth Next Week

NASA photo

Another satellite is expected to fall back to Earth sometime between Oct. 21 and 25. This time, it’s the German-built Roentgen satellite which was launched by NASA in 1990 from Florida.

ROSAT, an x-ray telescope, finished its mission on Feb. 12, 1999 and ran out of fuel thereafter. Since then, it has slowly been descending toward Earth.

The German Aerospace Center estimated it would crash anywhere between Oct. 21 and the 25, but are uncertain of the estimate since the orbit could widen that range.

The agency also predicted that parts of the telescope would survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere with pieces as heavy as 880 pounds. However, the largest piece to survive the fall will be the telescope’s mirror, the agency said.

Areas under ROSAT’s orbit could be affected, extending to 53 degrees northern and southern latitude, said the agency.

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