Last update: 25 October 2011, 08:00 UTC (10:00 CEST)
ROSAT re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Bay of Bengal
On 23 October 2011 at 01:50 UTC (03:50 CEST), the German research satellite ROSAT re entered the atmosphere over the Bay of Bengal; it is not known whether any parts of the satellite reached Earth’s surface. Determination of the time and location of re-entry was based on the evaluation of data provided by international partners, particularly the USA. Read more
Since its decommisioning, friction due to Earth's upper atmosphere has been causing the X-ray satellite ROSAT to loose altitude continuously. When the spacecraft re-enters the atmosphere, which is currently expected to occur on 23 October 2011 (UTC), the satellite will disintegrate and most of the fragments will burn up in the extreme heat caused by atmospheric friction. This FAQ provides answers to the most common questions about the ROSAT mission and its re-entry.
In this DLR webcast, Joachim Trümper, Scientific Director of ROSAT, explains the findings of the mission. From 1990 to 1999 the satellite observed more than 9000 single sources. ROSAT is the first X-ray satellite to have scanned the entire sky, and in doing so made first-time discoveries such as X-rays from comets.
At present, a total of about 6700 tons of space debris is in orbit around the Earth. This total figure includes the X-ray satellite ROSAT. In this DLR webcast, Heiner Klinkrad, Head of the Space Debris Office at ESA, explains what the re-entry of Rosat will be like, and enumerates the possible risks.
In this DLR webcast, Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd explains the legal aspects of the ROSAT mission. Space law relates to the non-territorial area of outer space, a region not governed by any national legislation.
In this DLR webcast, Felix Huber explains how satellites are controlled and monitored while in space, and how it is possible to extend the service life of satellites by docking a second satellite to them, and also how to 'recapture' satellites when they start to perform erratic orbital patterns.