space junk #3: another large satellite reenters by month’s end?

space junk #3: another large satellite reenters by month's end?Will space junk warnings become routine? ROSAT is predicted to reenter Earth’s atmosphere before the end of October. The disclaimers flow in Mail Online article to hedge future liability, “Professor Heiner Klinkrad of the European Space Agency assured: ‘Until now in the more than 50-years of space history not a single person has been harmed [by pieces of falling satellites].'” Did you catch the phrase, “no one harmed”? Lottie Williams became the first person to be hit by space junk in January 1997, while she strolled in a Tulsa, OK park. A piece of super-heated fuel tank insulation from a Delta II rocket struck Williams’ shoulder. The advice given the public on ROSAT, and similar to UARS,  reports 30 individual pieces that weigh 1.6 tons may survive reentry. Authorities speaking out of both sides of their mouths note, “odds are long of anyone being hurt, but emergency services in Germany are practicing drills to deal with debris injuries just in case…”. Debris from ROSAT may include glass shards from heat-resistant mirrors! The article points out ROSAT and UARS are …far smaller than the 135-ton Russian space station Mir, which fell to Earth in 2001 or the 100-ton Skylab that fell in 1979. Don’t you feel better?

Leave a Reply