Satellite pieces may hit Earth on weekend

2011-10-20 09:14

Berlin – The German Aerospace Center says pieces of a retired German satellite hurtling toward the atmosphere may crash to Earth this weekend.

Scientists today were able to hone their initial estimate of when the satellite would hit from a span of four days, to either on Saturday or Sunday.

Parts of the satellite, which is the size of a minivan, will burn up during re-entry but up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 tons could crash into Earth with a speed of up to 450kph.

The satellite orbits Earth every 90 minutes and scientists can only say that it could hit Earth anywhere along its path, between 53° North and 53° South – a vast swath of territory that includes much of the planet outside the poles.

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