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The Facts About Germany's Falling Satellite ROSAT (Infographic)

ROSAT, a dead space telescope that ceased operating in 1999, is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in late October, 2011.
ROSAT, a dead space telescope that ceased operating in 1999, is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in late October, 2011. (Image credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)

The 2.4-ton X-ray space observatory ROSAT is expected to break up as it plunges through Earth's atmosphere in late October, but some large pieces will likely make it through the intense heat of re-entry. According to German aerospace officials, approximately 1.6 tons of satellite debris, consisting primarily of up to 30 large glass and ceramic fragments, could survive the journey through the atmosphere and reach the Earth's surface. The SPACE.com infographic above offers some key facts about the satellite's ultimate demise.

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Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.