Space travel: Wörner: Debris is likely to almost burn up

Europe's former space chief Jan Wörner considers the danger from debris from a battery pack from the International Space Station falling to Earth to be low.

Space travel: Wörner: Debris is likely to almost burn up

Europe's former space chief Jan Wörner considers the danger from debris from a battery pack from the International Space Station falling to Earth to be low. "Batteries really like to burn. I assume that the package will almost completely burn up in the atmosphere," Wörner told dpa. "Maybe you'll see the disassembly as a beautiful shooting star." Even if particles got through, a hit on an inhabited area is unlikely. "There is a lot of water under the large area that the package flies over."

The case is different than the crash of the German X-ray satellite Rosat in 2011, said Wörner. "In contrast to the batteries, Rosat was also made of glass and ceramic, neither of which burns up completely." As the then head of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), he “really sweated,” said the 69-year-old. "Fortunately, the debris fell into the Bay of Bengal."

Object probably doesn't affect Germany

According to DLR information on Thursday morning, the object could enter the atmosphere over northern North America. In all likelihood it will not affect Germany. The time window specified was a 20-hour corridor around late Friday evening German time.

According to the information, the object is a platform with battery packs that is about the size of a car and weighs 2.6 tons. It was deliberately separated from the ISS on March 21, 2021, only to enter the atmosphere years later.

For Wörner, one thing is certain: such crashes should be a reason to finally take steps against dangers from space, said the former president of the European Space Agency (Esa). "In terms of size, the battery pack is nothing compared to what is flying around uncontrolled in space. We finally need an early warning system to protect the Earth."

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