BERLIN, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Another dead, drifting satellite will fall to Earth in November, following the U.S. satellite that showered pieces over the Pacific Ocean Saturday, experts say.
Officials at the German Aerospace Center say a decommissioned X-ray space observatory should enter the atmosphere sometime in early November, but exactly when and where debris from the satellite will land cannot be determined yet, SPACE.com reported.
The 2.4-ton ROSAT satellite is in an orbit that swings between 53 degree of latitude north and south, so any debris surviving its re-entry could land anywhere in a huge area of the Earth, officials said.
The dead satellite is being tracked, but any prediction about the exact time and place of its fall will remain uncertain until roughly 2 hours before it hits Earth, they said.
“It is not possible to accurately predict ROSAT’s re-entry,” Heiner Klinkrad, head of the Space Debris Office at the European Space Agency, said. “The uncertainty will decrease as the moment of re-entry approaches.”
However, he said, it would be possible to rule out certain geographical regions from the potential impact area about a day in advance.