BERLIN (AP) — German space officials now say pieces of a defunct satellite are expected to fall to Earth sometime within the next several hours.
The German Aerospace Center says pieces of the scientific research satellite are expected to hit sometime Sunday morning, European time -- by around 1 a.m., Eastern time.
Most parts of the satellite, which is about the size of a minivan, are expected to burn up during re-entry. But up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.8 tons could crash into Earth at speeds of up to 280 miles an hour.
The satellite orbits every 90 minutes, and it could hit anywhere a long a wide path. The area that could be hit includes much of the planet outside the poles. But a spokesman for the German agency says officials don't expect it to hit Europe.