Look out below! A defunct satellite is falling back to Earth and is expected to reenter the atmosphere.
After UARS, come ROSAT, now is time for Phobos !
*”November 11 developments*
All efforts to contact Phobos-Grunt proved futile and the attention of the
press was quickly switching to the inevitable uncontrolled reentry of the
spacecraft into the Earth atmosphere, expected sometimes from the end of
November to the middle of December. NORAD reportedly projected the reentry
of the spacecraft on November 26.
According to known technical specifications of the Phobos-Grunt
mission, the 13-ton vehicle contains more than 10 tons of toxic propellants –
unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (fuel) and nitrogen tetroxide (oxidizer).
Although most of the fuel and oxidizer would burn during the initial phase
of reentry, the size and mass of the spacecraft practically guarantees that
surviving metal debris would reach the Earth surface. In addition, a
capsule for soil samples designed to survive a hard landing would be
reentering alongside the spacecraft. Due to its insulated design, the
capsule would likely be torn off from the rest of the vehicle early into
the reentry and its impact would likely take place away from the rest of
the debris along the reentry path. The crash could take place anywhere from
51.4 degrees North latitude to 51.4 degrees South latitude.”