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German satellite to reenter later this month
Posted: Thu, Oct 13, 2011, 7:06 AM ET (1106 GMT)
ROSAT illustration (DLR) A German astronomy satellite that has been in orbit for over 20 years will reenter later this month, posing an impact hazard slightly greater than another recent reentry. The ROSAT satellite, launched in 1990, is in a decaying orbit and expected to reenter some time between October 20 and 25. About 1.6 tons of debris will survive reentry and will land somewhere between 53 degrees north and south latitude, according to models of the spacecraft's reentry. The German space agency DLR estimates that the odds of ROSAT debris striking anyone is 1 in 2,000, slightly higher than the 1-in-3,200 odds from a NASA satellite, UARS, that reentered last month. UARS reentered over the Pacific Ocean far from land, with no reports of any damage or injury caused by its debris.
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