German Rosat Satellite Re-enters Atmosphere

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PARIS — The German Aerospace Center, DLR, on Oct. 25 said its Rosat X-ray astronomy satellite re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Bay of Bengal Oct. 23 but that it remains unclear whether any pieces of the 2,400-kilogram spacecraft fell to Earth.

The agency released a picture of Rosat taken Oct. 20 by Germany’s Tracking and Imaging Radar, TIRA, which is located near Bonn and operated by the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques.

Rosat was launched in June 1990 and spent eight years surveying cosmic X-ray sources. Some 8,000 were cataloged, along with 6,000 extreme-ultraviolet sources.

“With the reentry of Rosat, one of the most successful German scientific space missions has been brought to its ultimate conclusion, DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Woerner said in a statement. “The dedication of all those involved at DLR and our national and international partners was exemplary.”

DLR said it determined Rosat’s atmospheric re-entry point by using data provided “by international partners, including the USA.”