German satellite crashed into Bay of Bengal: space agency

A German satellite the size of a car re-entered the Earth's atmosphere Sunday over the Gulf of Bengal, but it was not known if any debris hit the Earth, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) said Tuesday. The Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT), an x-ray observatory, made its re-entry at about 0150 GMT, the centre said in a statement. "Since Sunday morning we have had no reports as to any debris reaching the surface of the Earth," spokesman Andreas Schuetz said. Most space debris tends to burn up upon re-entry into the atmosphere. The centre estimated last week that as many as 30 individual pieces weighing a total of 1.7 tonnes could reach the surface of the Earth. ROSAT was launched in June 1990 to allow researchers to perform an all-sky survey of X-ray sources with an imaging telescope for the first time. It operated at distances of up to 585 kilometres above Earth's surface, but was later decommissioned as it lost altitude. A controlled re-entry was not possible at the end of its mission in 1999 because the spacecraft did not have a propulsion system on board. (c) 2011 AFP
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Source: AFP
Date: Oct 25, 2011