The satellite, known as ROSAT, was launched in 1990 by the German Aerospace Agency, DLR. The agency estimates that ROSY (far less menacing with a cute nickname), packing a combined mass of 1.7 tons, is likely to fall from space at speeds of up to 450 kilometers per hour somewhere between Oct. 21 and 24.
Apparently, there are currently more than 22,000 pieces of space debris orbiting the Earth (map shown at right), with bits and pieces entering the Earth’s atmosphere on a weekly basis — !? DLR scientists put the risk of being hit by a stray piece of ROSAT at 1-in-2,000 (i.e., the probability of someone on Earth getting injured is one for every 2,000 “de-orbit events” … ).
The Take-Away: Well, one thing’s for sure – if big hunk of burnin’ German love “de-orbits” into in my yard, I’m going to keep it and make it into a coffee table.
Post-Note: If you want to keep tabs on ROSAT’s orbit in real-time, go to n2yo.com.
Another Post-Note: If you’re into space junk, you’re bound to be bowled over by the curiously striking beauty of the Binary Low Table (shown below). According to its creator, BRC Designs, the table was “inspired by pallets of obsolete computers and electronics that were collecting dust in a local warehouse … The surface is completely covered with a collage of motherboards, computer chips, led screens and hard drive discs … “ (… And, there’s a matching chair!)