Orbiting telescope ROSAT will fall to Earth at the weekend


© Photo: EADS Astrium

MOSCOW, Oct. 17 — RIA Novosti. Orbiting telescope ROSAT weighing about 2.4 tons, completed its work in 1999, will fall to Earth on October 22-23.

Expected to reach the surface of the 30 fragments weighing 1.6 tons, the potential impact area extends from Berlin and Samara in the north to Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the south, said the German space agency DLR.

DLR experts estimate the probability of falling into the telescope next Saturday and Sunday as high, with guaranteed ROSAT "land" in the period from 20 to 25 October.

ROSAT is the next space "heavyweight" of the 1990's after the U.S. satellite UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) the size of a bus and weighing 6.5 tons, the debris that fell on September 24. According to NASA, the spacecraft reached Earth in the range between 07.23 and 09.09 MSK Saturday, falling in the North Pacific Ocean.

ROSAT X-ray telescope was created DLR and launched by NASA in 1990. Initially, the device was designed for 18 months of work, but the engineers have found a way to deal with the "aging" of tools, and eventually ROSAT was disabled only in February 1999. According to the report, right now there is not a suitable telescope to correct the trajectory of the fall of engines, no connection with the Mission Control Centre DLR.

Its orbit is gradually reduced: as of Monday morning, October 17, the unit was observed at an altitude of about 226 kilometers above the Earth. As previously reported, DLR said that "survive" the fall and reach the earth's surface about 30 separate fragments apparatus weighing up 1.6 tons.

Mirrors and instruments X-ray telescope have strong protection from overheating and therefore can survive heat in the atmosphere during the fall — according to German experts, X-ray optics, mirrors and their support of carbon may be the most severe of debris have reached Earth. The estimated probability that a fragment of ROSAT suffer any human on the planet is about 1 to 2000. In the case of UARS, this probability was estimated at about 1 in 3200.

The estimated area of debris falling ROSAT extends from 53 degrees north to 53 degrees south latitude — from Berlin and Samara in the north to the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in the south. A few hours before falling DLR is able to determine at this moment will run the route ROSAT, and eliminate a number of regions that are not affected by the fall. If the fragments telescope actually reach Earth, the area of the fall will be a strip along the flight path width of 80 kilometers.

Source: RIA Novosti

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