Oklahoma A Possible Landing Spot For Falling Chinese Space Station

Tiangong-1 Space Station

China Space Engineering Office

That's going to happen. All 8.5-tonnes of it is tearing through space right this instant and will burn through Earth's atmosphere any time between 29 March and 2 April. "Based on Tiangong-1's inclination, however, we can confidently say that this object will reenter somewhere between 43° North and 43° South latitudes".

The programme for a space station kicked off in earnest with the 2011 launch of Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace". It weighs about 19,000 pounds (9.5 tons) and consists of a service module and an orbital module, the latter of which was created to hold astronauts and lab equipment.

After the completion of its mission, the 9.4-ton space station had been spinning around Earth since June 2016. The descent will gradually pick up speed as the atmosphere gets thicker than before. "It might take out someone's vehicle, there will be a rain of a few pieces of metal, it might go through someone's roof, like if a flap fell off a plane, but it is not widespread damage".

That said, the likelihood of being hit by a falling piece of space debris is infinitesimally small - just one in a trillion, according to the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation.

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Given that vast portions of our planet are oceans and many places remain uninhabited, it is very unlikely that it will land in your backyard.

Chinese authorities discharged their first answer to the United Nations in May 2017 while saying Tiangong-1 had stopped working on March 16, 2016.

"Our experience is that for such large objects typically between 20% and 40% of the original mass will survive re-entry and then could be found on the ground, theoretically", the head of Esa's space debris office, Holger Krag, told reporters at a recent briefing.

"Perhaps this [Chinese space station de-orbiting] will be a motivation for government agencies worldwide to provide some funding to academics and research instructions to really get a grasp on the science of reentries, because this problem will not go away but will repeat itself", he says.

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Officials originally planned to de-orbit the satellite over the south Pacific Ocean, so any debris would fall in the water.

After an operational orbit of 1,630 days, China's first space lab Tiangong-1 terminated its data service earlier this year.

The Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011, with a lifespan of two years.

But NASA knows a few things about space debris and how to prevent satellites from falling out of the sky, uncontrolled.

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Due to its high dimensions, the Tiangong 1 is an object that can not be fully incinerated on its journey back to Earth, meaning that many fragments won't be significantly harmed or reduced causing the station to split and be sparse when reentering the atmosphere.

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