This latest video rendering from from Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) shows ROSAT’s current orbit, the satellite’s ground track, and the estimated model of the break-up and debris scattering. Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), the German Space Agency has now refined the re-entry to sometime between October 22 and 23, 2011, plus or minus one day. DLR says this slot of uncertainty will be reduced as the date of re-entry approaches. However, even one day before re-entry, the estimate will only be accurate to within plus/minus five hours.
The orbit extends from 53 degrees northern and southern latitude, and all areas in that region could be affected by its re-entry. The bulk of the debris will impact near the ground track of the satellite, but larger parts of the satellite, including its 32 inch, 400 kg mirror, could fall to Earth in a 80-kilometer-wide path along the track.
Update: A report from the ROSAT_Renetry Twitter feed posted at 18:00 UT on October 20 said they expect re-entry in 64 hours. “ROSAT orbit 88.58 minutes 196.8 x 201.7 km, Position 26.6S,164.0W alt=203.2km Lit ~Re-entry 64 hours”
We’ll provide more updates as they become available. You can check the DLR ROSAT webpage for more updates.