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CC51DAS

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ANOTHER satellite to crash land soon

By Ted Thornhill

Last updated at 5:13 PM on 31st September 2011

The world was gripped by the NASA UARS satellite that fell back to Earth last Saturday – and now there’s another that’s plummeting back from orbit.

Following an unexplained collision in outer space, a Germany astronomy satellite – called ROSAT- will plunge uncontrolled back to Earth sometime in the next few weeks.

While slightly smaller than UARS, the German satellite is expected to have more pieces survive re-entry. The German space agency estimated that it has a 1-in-2000 chance of hitting someone - higher than the 1-in-3,200 odds NASA gave for UARS.

Both NASA and the German space agency are searching for an explanation as to why their satellites are being knocked out of space. One theory being advanced is that the satellites have been in a collision with a fast moving, globe-shaped object launched from the planet below, such as a football, which, upon leaving the earth’s atmosphere, hardens and can cause a severe rupture to a satellite.

The space agencies have noted that only one team was playing on the two occasions that the damage occurred - high-flying Southend United, who currently top League 2. They are ‘in contact’ with the Club and have requested them to adopt a less dangerous approach to what is normally considered a harmless past-time.

Southend manager Paul Sturrock has refuted suggestions that his teams’ tactics could be the cause of the satellites crashing to earth. Through a spokesman, Sturrock acknowledged that “there has been a lot of discussion ... about the style of football we are playing which has been referred to as ‘hoofball’”. He insists, however that his team are “an accurate long passing team who get accurate balls into the final third by launching the ball from goal kicks and the fullbacks”.

The German space agency puts the odds of somebody somewhere on Earth being hurt by its satellite at 1-in-2,000 — a slightly higher level of risk than was calculated for the Nasa satellite.

Again, it seems certain that information on when - or where - the satellite might land will be scant.

But any one individual's odds of being struck are 1-in-14trillion.

Heiner Klinkrad, head of the Space Debris Office at the European Space Agency, said in a webcast posted on the German Aerospace Center's website: ‘It is not possible to accurately predict ROSAT's re-entry.

‘The uncertainty will decrease as the moment of re-entry approaches. It will not be possible to make any kind of reliable forecast about where the satellite will actually come down until about one or two hours before the fact.’

It is understood that the agency have yet to decide whether agree to Southend United’s requests for the ball to be returned in the event that it survives re-entry.

Experts believe that two dozen metal pieces from the bus-sized Nasa satellite fell over a 500-mile span in the Pacific Ocean.

It began hitting the water southwest of Christmas Island.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2043846/ROSAT-ANOTHER-satellite-crash-land-weeks-time.html#ixzz1ZmwncKAw
 
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