China's space station Tiangong-1 set to fall back to Earth

28 March, 2018, 00:31 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Out-of-control Chinese space station set to crash land on earth

According to the Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit space flight researcher, the probity of Tiangong-1 debris being hazardous is slim.

China's prototype eight-tonne spacecraft Tiangong-1 is likely to crash on Earth this week or by the first week of April.

The UAE Space Agency on Sunday said that China's Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory's fall back to Earth poses virtually no risk to residents or structures here.

But, it's also worth noting that Tiangong-1 itself is just a fraction of the size of other objects that have fallen (controlled or uncontrolled) to Earth. "Not knowing when it's going to come down translates as not knowing where its going to come down".

It's also been out of control for two years - a fact China only acknowledged publicly last May when it confirmed it had lost contact with Tiangong-1 and could no longer control its behaviour. But given the spacecraft's inclination, it will re-enter somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitudes.

The ASI is one of 13 global space agencies monitoring the satellite as it approaches earth for an uncontrolled crash landing.

Tiangong-1 has officially stopped sending data and entered its final phase of life on March 16, a statement issued yesterday by the China Manned Space Engineering Office said. 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".


Now the falling space station's descent has sparked a wave of fear among the public, which many experts are fighting hard to dismiss.

Tiangong-1, China's first space station, was launched in 2011 and has been in decreasing orbit ever since. Solar flares or the speed of the solar wind can affect the atmospheric density.

This could include small satellites, spent rocket stages and, yes, even space stations.

For argument's sake, and you do become the unluckiest person on the planet to suffer injury or loss because of falling space junk from Tiangong-1, those same space treaties mean you would have some cause for complaint.

One need not worry about death from above - the chances that a piece of Tiangong-1 will hit you are less than one in a trillion, according to an FAQ published by The Aerospace Corporation.

Tiangong-1 is a satellite laboratory that contains large amounts of hydrazine, a toxic, flammable chemical that can wreak havoc on the human body, including poisoning the blood, kidneys, lungs, the central nervous system, and damage to eyes, nose, mouth, and respiration.

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