Falling Chinese space station's re-entry expected on Easter Sunday

Apr 01, 2018, 02:45
Falling Chinese space station's re-entry expected on Easter Sunday

The Tiangong-1 space station has been racing around Earth for seven years, but the Chinese spacecraft is just days away from falling back down to Earth, and southern MI could be in its cross hairs.

China will step up efforts to coordinate with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs as the re-entry nears, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday. Over time, the space station has fallen from its original orbit of 216 miles above Earth to 131 miles this week, traveling at 17,224 mph.

Astronomers from the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy have captured an incredible image of the stricken Chinese space station Tiangong-1 as it makes its final descent towards Earth. The newest ESA reentry forecast points to Sunday, April 1, April Fools' Day.

Still, the chances of anyone being hit by a hunk of Tiangong are about 1 in 1,000,000,000,000, according to The Aerospace Corp., a California-based research group that monitors all goings-on above Earth via its Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies.

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Although nobody has ever died from being hit by space junk falling back to Earth, one Australian region did fine Nasa $400 for littering when its Skylab crashed around the town of Esperence in 1974.

So what happened and why has China lost control of the craft? Experts say most of it will burn up, but there will be some pieces that will land on earth.

The space lab, which launched in 2011, was originally meant to be deorbited in 2013 before its lifespan was extended.

As more information is garnered as to when the reentry will take place, the site updates with the most likely landing spot for the space station. Smaller pieces will land on Earth, we just don't know where. You don't have to worry about debris, according to the most recent re-entry area map. The space station is orbiting at a height of 122miles.

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Tiangong-1, whose name translates as "Heavenly Palace", hosted two crew missions that included China's first female astronauts and served as a test platform for perfecting docking procedures and other operations.

Launched in September 2011, Tiangong-1 had a design life of two years.

All eyes will be on the skies this weekend, as Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, is expected to fall back to Earth.

The last time people set foot on the space station was in 2013.

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China was excluded from the 420-ton International Space Station mainly due to US legislation barring such cooperation and concerns over the Chinese space program's strong military connections.

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