Tiangong-1 Space Station to Fall Out of Sky

27 March, 2018, 18:50 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Tiangong-1 reentry window forecast as of 6 March Credit ESA

The approximate re-entry location can not be decided until the last two hours before it starts to fall based on global precedents, he said. So a controlled re-entry was no longer possible.

"This is a space craft that's big enough that at least some pieces will probably survive the reentry and hit the ground somewhere", said Bill Hardwood of CBS Space News. In its lifetime it was involved in six rendezvous and docking missions with manned Shenzhou spacecraft, and made "significant contributions to the development of China's manned space mission" space authorities said.

In what could be a rerun of panic that the crash of Skylab had spread in the late 1970s, China's prototype space station Tiangong-1 is reportedly hurtling towards earth and could enter the atmosphere this week.

What did Tiangong-1 do in space?

But on March 16, 2016, China reported to the United Nations that telemetry services with Tiangong-1 had "ceased functioning" which caused the space station to become space junk.

Tiangong 1, which means Heavenly Palace in English, is likely to re-enter the Earth along one of two narrow stretches around 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitude.

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Tiangong-1's decaying orbit is being closely monitored at The Aerospace Corporation's Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS), established in 1997 to leverage our 50-plus years of experience working to mitigate space debris risks, supporting collision avoidance, and modeling the reentry and breakup of space hardware for government and commercial customers. Mr Aboutanios said if that happens during night time over a populated area it "will most certainly be visible, like a meteor or a shooting star".

Even with a higher chance than other regions, the likelihood of a piece of debris hitting someone or something is very unlikely.

Heavens-above, a satellite tracking site recommended by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, can tell you when you can see Tiangong-1 passing in the sky above your city, and which direction it's moving in. But that depends, of course, on how close you are to the falling debris as well as the time of day and the amount of cloud cover, according to Abraham.

One of the largest Chinese spacecrafts in orbit could crash back down to Earth as early as Saturday, authorities said on Monday.

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