ROSAT Reentry Predicted for October 21-25

ROSAT Reentry Predicted for October 21-25

The German Aerospace Center’s (DLR’s) most recent prediction for reentry of its ROSAT satelite is between October 21 and 25.

DLR estimates that 30 individual pieces of the satellite could survive the heat of reentry, including its 1.7 ton main mirror.

The ROetngen SATellite (ROSAT) was an x-ray astronomy satellite. Launched in 1990, it is in a 53 degree inclined orbit, meaning that it travels between 53 degrees North latitude and 53 degrees South latitude. The satellite does not have a propulsion system. Like many other satellites, including NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) last month and countless pieces of space debris routinely, it will make an uncontrolled reentry.

Debris could fall anywhere along the defunct satellite’s orbital path within an 80 kilometer (50 mile) wide swath of that path according to DLR. The precise time and place for reentry cannot be calculated with precision, but it is important to bear in mind that 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. DLR estimates the chance of “someone somewhere on Earth getting injured is about 1 in 2000.”

ROSAT was a cooperative program among Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

In addition to DLR’s ROSAT reentry website, and the websites of amateur satellite observers such as and, New Scientist reports that a team of programmers in Australia have designed an iPhone App — ROSAT Reentry — for those who want to follow the action.

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