ROSAT re-entered atmosphere over Bay of Bengal

25 October 2011

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  • The ROSAT satellite on 14 October 2011

    This image shows the German X-ray satellite on 14 October 2011, nine days before its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. It was acquired using a 25-centimetre telescope located roughly one kilometre west of Aachen, on the German-Dutch border. The ROSAT telescope (main body) and the solar panels are clearly visible.

  • The ROSAT satellite on 20 October 2011

    A few days before re-entering Earth's atmosphere, the German X-ray research satellite ROSAT was targeted by the Tracking and Imaging RAdar (TIRA) at the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques in Wachtberg, near Bonn, which is unique in Europe. TIRA is part of a global network of monitoring stations that collected data about ROSAT. From this data, the orbit was determined and images were produced. This example, acquired on 20 October 2011, clearly shows the antenna mast of the satellite.

On 23 October 2011 at 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, including the USA.

"With the re-entry of ROSAT, one of the most successful German scientific space missions has been brought to its ultimate conclusion. The dedication of all those involved at DLR and our national and international partners was exemplary; they are all deserving of my sincere thank you," said Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board.


The launch of the ROentgen SATellite (ROSAT) into orbit on 1 June 1990 marked the start of a mission that would allow researchers to perform an all-sky survey of X-ray sources with an imaging telescope for the first time. About 80,000 cosmic X-ray sources were detected, along with 6000 sources in the extreme ultraviolet region. During its eight years of operation, more than 4000 scientists from 24 countries took advantage of the opportunity to request observations. Many hot, high-energy processes in the Universe were first observed with ROSAT.

Last modified:
25/10/2011 16:29:24



Sabine Göge
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

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German Aerospace Center (DLR)

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