23 Oct '11, 3am
Falling German research satellite re-enters atmosphere, about 30 fragments expected to crash into Earth
A defunct satellite hurtled toward the atmosphere and pieces of it were expected crash to the Earth within hours, the German Aerospace Center said early on Sunday. -- PHOTO: AP BERLIN (AP) - A defunct satellite entered the atmosphere early on Sunday and pieces of it were expected to crash into the earth, the German Aerospace Center said. There was no immediate solid evidence to determine above which continent or country the Rosat scientific research satellite entered the atmosphere, agency spokesman Andreas Schuetz said. Most parts of the minivan-sized satellite were expected to burn up during re-entry, but up to 30 fragments weighing 1.7 tonnes could crash into Earth at speeds up to 450kmh. Scientists were no longer able to communicate with the dead satellite and it must have traveled about 20,000km in the last 30 minutes before entering the atmosphere, Mr Schuetz said.