The German satellite ROSAT (Roentgen Satellit) will fall back to earth by the end of October, marking the second satellite to re-enter earth’s atmosphere in just a one month period.
According to experts the 1.6 Ton satellite has a 1 in 2000 chance of hitting a person upon re-entry, slighting worse odds (at least for people) than the UARS satellite that has a 1 in 3,200 chance but ended up landing in the South Pacific.
Changes of a satellite to person collision partly increases because ROSAT will like see more components survives re-entry. According to SmartPlanet:
“Generally speaking, whenever a satellite re-enters the atmosphere, about 20% to 40% of its mass actually reaches the Earth’s surface.” whereas ROSAT was built with “heat-resistant mirror structures.”
Just like NASA did with UARS the German space agency plans to track re-entry of ROSAT and just like NASA they won’t know exactly where the satellite will crash land until just before re-entry, perhaps even after that point.
It might not be the end of the world as we know it but the sky sure seems to be falling quite a bit lately.