Russia's mission control is concerned that unsanctioned commands periodically arise in the system of the central onboard computer

There is a very high chance that the Mir space station could hit a city if it makes an uncontrolled descent to Earth, the head of the Russian Aerospace Agency said Monday in defense of the government's plans to deorbit the station and sink it in the Pacific Ocean. If the station were to make an uncontrolled descent it could fall to Earth anywhere between 52 degrees North latitude and 52 degrees South latitude, a band with many major population centers, Yuri Koptev said at a news conference. He said specialists at Russia's mission control are concerned that unsanctioned commands periodically arise in the system of the central onboard computer that affect the station's engines and control systems, Interfax reports. This could affect the safety of Mir's flight and lead to unpredictable consequences, Koptev said. In the controlled descent planned for Mir, fragments of the station that do not burn up in dense layers of the atmosphere would fall within an area of the Pacific Ocean that is 200 km wide and 5,000 to 6,000 km long.