BERLIN – A defunct satellite is hurtling toward the atmosphere, and pieces of it are expected to crash to the Earth Saturday night or this morning, according to the German Aerospace Center.

Pieces of the ROSAT scientific research satellite are expected to hit between about 8 p.m. EDT Saturday and 1 a.m. EDT today, the agency said late Saturday.

Most parts of the minivan-sized satellite will burn up during re-entry into the atmosphere but up to 30 fragments weighing 1.87 tons could crash into Earth at speeds up to 280 mph.

The satellite orbits every 90 minutes and it could hit almost anywhere along its path — a vast swath between 53 degrees north and 53 degrees south that comprises much of the planet outside the poles, including parts of North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.