China's Tiangong-1 due for uncontrolled re-entry, soon

China’s space station lost contact with a command center it will plummet to the Earth within weeks

China’s space station lost contact with a command center it will plummet to the Earth within weeks

China's first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks and scientists estimate debris from Tiangong-1 will survive re-entry.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the module is predicted to make its re-entry between 24 March and 19 April and this is what the Aerospace Corporation (US) predicted as well.

The organisation says, 'If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size'. According to the research center Aerospace, the re-entry will happen somewhere between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitudes - which certainly includes India. According to the map designed after tracking its location, the space station is expected to fall between 43-degrees north and 43-degrees south latitudes which makes regions of northern Spain, Middle East, northern China, Central Italy, Tasmania, New Zealand, northern US, southern Africa and regions of South America potential crashing sites.

In November, experts from the European Space Agency announced that it had narrowed down the number of possible crash sites, saying that Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece could be in the firing line should any pieces of the craft fail to burn up completely in the atmosphere.

Mr McDowell said it's impossible to predict exactly where the eight-tonne station will land and they probably won't know until an hour beforehand.

Tiangong-1, which used to be falling to Earth at the speed of about 1.5 km per week in October, is now dropping at the rate of 6 km a week.

'It is only in the final week or so that we are going to be able to start speaking about it with more confidence, ' said Dr McDowell.

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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.

After the completion of its mission, the 9.4-ton space station had been spinning around Earth since June 2016.

The ESA says, 'The current estimated window is ~24 March to ~19 April; this is highly variable.

These predictions may also change as new orbital measurements will be available.

Lottie Williams from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has the dubious honor of being the only known person ever hit by a piece of space junk. "Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debris and, fortunately, she was not injured".

This TV grab taken on 2 November 2011 shows an animated video clip of the docking of the Tiangong-1 space lab module and the Shenzhou VIII (Shenzhou-8) spacecraft in space.

After the craft lost radio connection with China's Space Agency after being launched in 2011, it began to slip into a lower and lower orbit, and it just started dipping into Earth's atmosphere.

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