A space rock about the size of a jet plane will zip so close to Earth that it will briefly come between us and our weather satellites next week.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be just 27,700 kilometres from the surface — a mere tenth of the distance between the Earth and the moon — when it makes its closest approach around 2:24 p.m. ET on Feb. 15. At that time, it will be zooming by at about 28,100 kilometres per hour or 7.82 kilometres per second relative to Earth.

DA14 will come 8,100 kilometres closer to Earth than man-made weather and communications satellites that are in geosynchronous orbit, which means they circle the Earth once a day.

In fact, the 45-metre diameter, 130,000-tonne asteroid will come closer than any object its size has ever been predicted to come before.

The asteroid's orbit is so well known that "there's no chance of a collision," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Office, at a news conference Thursday.

Nor is it likely to hit any satellites, as it's too close to Earth to hit the geosynchronous satellites, but a lot further out than the bulk of satellites orbiting, including the International Space Station, located 386 kilometres above the surface.

"This asteroid seems to be passing the sweet spot between the GPS satellites and weather and communications satellites," Yeomans said.

He added that just to be safe, the U.S. space agency is giving satellite providers detailed information about the asteroid's position at different times so they can compare that to the position of their satellites.

Less frequent visits expected

While DA14 has been coming relatively close to Earth about twice a year, that's about to change, Yeomans said. As it flies by, the Earth's gravity will actually perturb the asteroid's orbit, shaving a couple of months off its usual 12-month travel time around the sun.

"It won't come back in the Earth's neighbourhood anywhere near as frequently as it has in the past," he said. "The Earth is going to put this one in an orbit that is considerably safer than the orbit it has been in."

NASA estimates that asteroids the size of DA14 actually fly this close about once every 40 years and hit the Earth roughly once every 1,200 years. The last time it happened was on June 30, 1908, when a meteorite crashed in Tunguska, Russia, and levelled trees over 2,200 square kilometres.

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  • This Feb. 14, 2000 photo provided by NASA shows the north pole of the asteroid Eros. The crater seen on the surface of Eros measures 4 miles across. (AP Photo/NASA)

  • This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the asteroid Lutetia at closest approach July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This undated artist concept released by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the Dawn spacecraft with Ceres and Vesta seen in the background. The spacecraft was captured into orbit around the massive asteroid Vesta after a 1.7 billion-mile journey and is preparing to begin a study of a surface that may date to the earliest era of the solar system, the space agency said Monday, July 18, 2011, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/William K. Hartmann/UCLA/NASA, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY)

  • This handout photo illustration provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the final sequence of images before the closest approach of the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows a close-up view of a possible landslide and boulders at the highest resolution on the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This artist's concept provided by NASA illustrates the first known Earth Trojan asteroid, discovered by NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of NASA's WISE mission. The asteroid is shown in gray and its extreme orbit is shown in green. Earth's orbit around the sun is indicated by blue dots. The objects are not drawn to scale. The asteroid's orbit is well defined and for at least the next 100 years, it will not come closer to Earth than 15 million miles (24 million kilometers). (AP Photo/NASA - Paul Wiegert)

  • Computer modeling shows that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina, which was approximately 170-kilometers in diameter with characteristics similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, was disrupted 160 million years ago when it was hit by another asteroid estimated to be 60-kilometres in diameter.The extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago can be traced to a collision between two monster rocks in the asteroid belt nearly 100 million years earlier, scientists reported on September 5, 2007. The two pictures on the right show remnants of the collision impacting the Earth and Moon. (DON DAVIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Monday, August 1, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 24, 2011 at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). (AP Photo/NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

  • This July 23, 2011 image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by NASA/JPL, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). (AP Photo/ NASA/JPL)

  • This undated artist rendition released by NASA/JPL shows the Dawn spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL)

  • This image released by NASA/JPL on Thursday July 28, 2011 shows an image of the dark side of Vesta asteroid captured by NASA'S Dawn spacecraft on July 23, 2011, and taken from a distance of about 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers) away from the giant asteroid. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, July 18, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 17, 2011. The image was taken from a distance of about 9,500 miles (15,000 kilometers) away from the proto planet Vesta. (AP Photo/ NASA/JPL)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, July 18, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 1, 2011. The image was taken from a distance of about 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 5.8 miles. (AP Photo/ NASA)