Published: Tue, April 03, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Falling Chinese satellite expected to re-enter atmosphere Sunday

Falling Chinese satellite expected to re-enter atmosphere Sunday

Subsequent communiques to the United Nations promised to provide a "timely forecast of its re-entry" and that Beijing would "continue to closely track and monitor" Tiangong-1's operation.

No one knows for sure. While most of the 8.5 tonne structure is likely to burn up as it re-enters the atmosphere, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said on Friday said that "there is concern that debris could make landfall".

"The U.S. lost Space Lab a few decades ago, and the Russians ditched the Mir space station on goal when they were done using it. Things fall back earth all the time but this is a big piece, and I'm not sure the Chinese wanted it to fall back so soon", Tanner said.

The Aerospace Corp. also said it could land along a strip of the U.S. that includes the southern Lower Peninsula of MI. The delay was announced by the ESA which monitoring the station's movement.

What will happen and how great is the danger?

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, estimates that the Tiangong-1 is the 50th most massive uncontrolled re-entry of an object since 1957.

The space station was set to have a controlled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, but the lab stopped working in March 2016.

The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is tumbling back to Earth after become inoperable and may make its fiery impact early Easter Sunday.

Russia, Canada and northern Europe are all reported to be out of range. "And one hour still means nearly one revolution around the Earth", said Holger Krag, the head of Esa's space debris office. "We have been able to confirm that there is a tumble, we just can't tell the orientation".

How common is man-made space debris?

"In the history of spaceflight, no casualties due to falling space debris have ever been confirmed", the ESA said last month.

Most famously, America's 77-ton Skylab crashed through the atmosphere in 1979, spreading pieces of wreckage near the southwestern Australia city of Perth, which fined the USA $400 for littering. "It will move across the sky in a much more stately manner". No one on the ground was injured.

"What I've heard is the possibility of large amounts of debris falling to the ground is very slim".

In the words of the European Space Station: "This is highly variable".

The demise of Tiangong-1 has been long anticipated.

Shenzhou 9 launched on June 16, 2012, with three astronauts, including China's first female astronaut, fighter pilot Liu Yang. Since then, the station has been slowly orbiting closer and closer to Earth.

The space station, about the size of a 18,000-pound school bus, is spinning out of control and hurling toward Earth.

Although the incident has been embarrassing for China's space program, it hasn't delayed its progress. It has been visited by two crewed missions. It plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

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