Heads Up: China's Tiangong-1 Space Station Is Crashing to Earth


The exact position of where it will re-enter is not figured but the chances indicate slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain.

The space station was launched in 2011 as a "potent political symbol" of China.

The science of where the station will hit is notoriously inexact because small changes in "space weather" - the effect on the Earth's atmosphere of flares of electromagnetic radiation and charged particles travelling as solar wind - can shift its trajectory drastically.

America's Aerospace Corporation (AAC) predicts the first week of April for re-entry and the crash landing of some of the pieces, while the European Space Agency (ESA) has a much larger window of March 24 to April 19.

Given the imprecise estimate for the reentry of Tiangong-1, the ESA will constantly update the trajectory and tracking for the route of the space station throughout the month.

"It is highly unlikely that debris from this re-entry will strike any person or significantly damage any property, " says the report from Aerospace Corporation.

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"If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size", said Aerospace, a research organisation that advises government and private enterprise on space flight. "When considering the worst-case location ... the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot". The earlier reports stated it could enter the atmosphere somewhere in April, but looks like it will arrive sooner than expected.

Every satellites and space station, to maintain their assigned orbit need little push and initially, Tiangong-1 followed all the ground command for few years and stayed perfectly in its assigned orbit, but in 2016, the Chinese space agency lost the control over it and now it is on its way to hit the Earth. They have also warned that the debris may contain a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University, seems a bit less anxious about the satellite than some, but he still has a note of caution, as he told The Guardian.

According to Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, Tiangong-1's descent has been speeding up.

It was used for both manned and unmanned missions and visited by China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, in 2012. China's first space station will come into collision with our planet within weeks. In 1991, the 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station of Soviet Union bragged into the Earth docked to Cosmos 1686.

NASA's 77-ton Skylab space station came hurtling to Earth in an nearly completely uncontrolled descent in 1979, with some large pieces landing outside Perth in Western Australia. And in 1979, NASA's Skylab space station hit Earth in an nearly completely uncontrolled descent, landing some large debris outside Perth in Australia.