Only one month after the UARS defunct NASA satellite made its plunge into the Earth’s surface, another German spacecraft is expected to descend into the planet’s atmosphere sometime this weekend.
Experts are predicting that the defunct German satellite will fall onto the Earth in up to 30 large pieces.
No accurate predictions have been made yet on just where they will land.
This spacecraft is a 2.7-ton satellite named Roentgen, or ROSAT and will likely plummet to Earth on Saturday on Sunday, according to the latest update from the German Aerospace Center.
“Currently, the re-entry date can only be calculated to within plus/minus one day,” agency officials said in a statement. “This time slot of uncertainty will be reduced as the date of re-entry approaches. However, even one day before re-entry, the estimate will only be accurate to within plus/minus five hours.”
ROSAT weighs about 5,348 pounds and has been orbiting the Earth since June 1990.
It was launched as a joint mission between Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Back in 1998, its star tracker failed, which caused its X-ray sensors to point directly at the sun.
This caused permanent damage to the satellite, and made it become officially decommissioned in Feb. 1999.
The satellite is actually smaller than UARS which was around the size of a school bus at 6 ½ tons.
ROSAT is expected by experts to drop its debris along a 50-mile stretch of the Earth’s surface.
Its orbit reaches from the latitudes of 53 degrees north and south.
What this means is that ROSAT can fall anywhere in an area stretching from Canada to South America.
Officials have stated that the defunct satellite’s pieces have a 1-in-2,000 chance of actually hitting someone.
There were no reported cases of UARS affecting anyone.