Chinese space station to crash to Earth within weeks

Tiangong-1 Space Station

China Space Engineering Office

The 40-foot long Tiangong-1 or "Heavenly Palace", is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere between March 31 and April 1, according to the latest update from the European Space Agency.

Mr Krag said: "There have been 13,000 tonnes of space hardware coming down in the whole history of space flight and there has not been a single casualty reported".

The huge space lab appears to be out of control and is now on its way back to Eath - but no one knows where it will land.

The good news is that it's very unlikely that anyone will actually get hit by the spacecraft, which is expected to break up into debris upon re-entry.

The first United States space station, the 74-ton Skylab, fell to Earth in an uncontrolled reentry in 1979. That happened in 1997, when Lottie Williams of Oklahoma was struck on the shoulder by a piece of metal from a disintegrating rocket. But she was not injured. But it's hardly the largest satellite that's ever fallen to Earth uncontrolled-there have been 49 heavier examples, McDowell has calculated. It didn't injure anyone but large parts of it were later collected.

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China launched the Tiangong-1 in 2011, and since then, crews of taikonauts - China's astronauts - have visited and performed experiments while onboard. In 2011 Nasa calculated the chance of a smaller 6.5-ton object striking someone was about one in 3,200. "By comparison, the risk of being hit by lightning is one in 1.4 million and the risk that someone in the USA will be killed in a hurricane is about one in six million", it explains.

It is orbiting at about 27,000km/h, so a crash site is virtually impossible to predict.

The yellow areas, meanwhile, indicates zones that have a higher probability, which extend a few degrees south of 42.7° N and north of 42.7° S latitude, respectively.

In other words, if any debris does fall to the surface, it could happen anywhere from the Northern US, Southern Europe, Central Asia or China to the tip of Argentina/Chile, South Africa, or Australia.

Little will survive. Even though there are layers of protective material and substances like titanium on board, some parts, including potentially re-usable gear and hardware, are likely to survive re-entry.

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When Is It Going To Crash?

Sounds insane, right? No, this is not an April Fool's Joke!

Who Is Responsible for Any Damage? However, according to a notification by Space.com in 2017, there is no need for panic.

That convention has only been invoked once before, when the Soviet Union's Cosmos 954 crashed in 1978. "Tiangong-1 is a tenth of a Skylab, it's really no big deal in comparison".

As Yahoo News reports, the doomed space station has been in an uncontrolled orbit for almost two years now, and by all calculations, it will meet its fiery end beginning in the early morning of March 30, with Easter Sunday (April 1) providing what is believed to be the best opportunities to view burning space debris.

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