Artist’s impression of how the sky might look over Rochdale

28.2E Astra2/Eurobird1 may not mean anything to most people, but it is very much in the minds of worried Rochdale residents who have recently learned that the high-tech TV satellite is expected to fall on the town in the early hours of Thursday, 27th July, 2017. However, top scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) assure us that there is nothing to fear as the “hunk of junk” will most likely be entirely incinerated upon reentry. “Rochdale can relax,” said ESA egghead, Pets De’Nonne, “nothing larger than a hardened steel hen’s egg should make it to the surface, and provided everybody sleeps in their basement on that night there is little chance of a skull-shattering impact.”

Area covered by 28.2E Astra2/Eurobird1

The satellite was launched in 1992 and is currently operated by SES based in Betzdorf, Luxembourg, who have announced that they will no longer pay ESA to maintain it. A spokesman for ESA told The Rochdale Herald “SES have decided not to invest in further maintenence for their satellites currently servicing the UK in light of recent political and economic events. Without our services, the orbits of all of the satellites in question will inevitably decay. Most will fall harmlessly into unpopulated areas, but some won’t. It should make for an impressive man-made meteor shower.”

Rochdale locals are less optimistic. “This in an outrage!” wailed Gillian Duffy, an avid fan of Game of Thrones fan. “If these things all fall out of the sky, how will I watch season 7? There is no Virgin in this street and I haven’t got an Internet in my house. I’ll have to wait ’til it comes out on video tape now that Blockbuster’s are back.” Sports fan Jim Slinger, 24, was less concerned. “I hardly watch TV at home as they have Sky down the pub!” he laughed. When we pointed out that Sky also requires a satellite Mr. Slinger was unfazed. “The Goat and Compass has one of them smart TV’s. It’ll figure something out.”

The future looks bleak for Gillian Duffy

Eurobird1 will be the first in a line of space-based technology destined to return to earth as a white-hot fireball. Few will pose a significant risk to human life, although backyard amateur astronomer, Wilfred Ramsbottom is keeping a close watch on 13E Hotbird. “I’ve had my eye to the telescope every night for a month now, and I’m sure I saw it wobbling the other night. I don’t trust those Europeans.”

We asked Professor Brian Cox for an interview but he declined, however his agent sent us a copy of “Wonders of the Solar System” on Blu-ray.