Author Topic: Satellite crash lands in Asia  (Read 435 times)

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Satellite crash lands in Asia
« on: October 24, 2011, 02:49:46 PM »
Satellite crash lands in Asia after returning at 280mph... but experts STILL can't find it
Scientist says two heavily populated Chinese cities were in defunct satellite's path
Up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 tons could have crashed
But odds of any individual being struck are only one in 14 trillion
By Mark Duell

Last updated at 6:40 AM on 24th October 2011

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A defunct German research satellite plummeted to earth at speeds of up to 280mph last night and crashed somewhere in Southeast Asia, a scientist said, but its exact whereabouts remain a mystery.
Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said two Chinese cities with millions of inhabitants each, Chongqing and Chengdu, had been in the minivan-sized satellite's projected path during its re-entry time.
'But if it had come down over a populated area there probably would be reports by now,' the astrophysicist, who tracks man-made space objects, said in a telephone interview.
 Artist's impression: Scientists are trying to establish how and where the German research satellite landed on Saturday night, after warning that some parts might survive re-entry and crash at high speeds
Most parts of the satellite were expected to burn up as they hit the atmosphere, but up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 tonnes may have survived the re-entry, the German Aerospace Centre said.

Calculations based on U.S. military data indicate that debris of the ROSAT scientific research satellite must have crashed somewhere east of Sri Lanka over the Indian Ocean, or over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar, or further inland in Myanmar or as far inland as China, he said.
The satellite entered the atmosphere between 9:45pm to 10:15pm Saturday EDT and would have taken 15 minutes or less to hit the ground, the centre said.

Hours before the re-entry, the center said the satellite was not expected to land in Europe, Africa or Australia.
There were no immediate reports from Asian governments or space agencies about the fallen satellite, but an exact determination could take days.

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‘I don't think that we'll have a confirmation of any sort today,’ the GAC spokesman said on Sunday, pointing out it also took NASA several days to establish where one of its satellites had hit last month.
 Bus-sized: Nasa's six-ton Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite made its final fiery plunge into the Earth's atmosphere last month
The 2.69-ton satellite was launched in 1990 and retired in 1999 after researching black holes and neutron stars and performing the first all-sky survey of x-ray sources with an imaging telescope.
Fears subsided over NASA satellite
A dead NASA satellite fell into the southern Pacific Ocean last month, causing no damage, despite fears it would hit a populated area and cause damage or kill people.
Experts believe about two dozen metal pieces from the bus-sized satellite fell over a 500-mile span.
The largest single fragment that could hit into the earth is the telescope's heat-resistant mirror.
During its mission, the satellite orbited about 370 miles above the Earth's surface, but after its decommissioning it lost altitude, circling at a distance of only 205 miles above ground in June for example, the agency said.
Even in the last days, the satellite still circled the planet every 90 minutes, making it hard to predict where on Earth it would eventually come down.
The German space agency put the odds of somebody somewhere on Earth being hurt by its satellite at one in 2,000 - a slightly higher level of risk than was calculated for the NASA satellite (see box).
But any one individual's odds of being struck were one in 14 trillion, given there are 7 billion people on the planet.

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