This is the rogue Chinese satellite set to crash into Earth

30 March, 2018, 08:01 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • Space Stations Rising and Falling title

"The Chinese lost the capability of controlling that space craft back in March of 2016, so they are unable to actually command to fire those rockets to bring it down into a controlled entry, so basically, they're dealing with what's called an uncontrolled entry", said Drew Deskur, Executive Director of the Kopernick Observatory and Science Center. Its researchers have identified a band of "probable" re-entry points around the planet that include well-populated areas in California, Oregon, the Midwest, New York and New England.

According to the National Space Agency (Angkasa), the latest calculation puts the space station's re-entry into Earth's orbit at a height of 182.407km, down from the initial 182.462km.

As of March 26, 2018, the station is expected to burn up sometime between Friday, March 30 and Tuesday, April 3. As the station descends closer to Earth and gains momentum, the thicker air will cause friction to surround the craft in superheated plasma, the Post reported.

For what it's worth, the ESA reports Tiangong-1 is slightly more likely to impact the northern or southern bound of the green-shaded area. Scandinavia seems safe. The polar bears in the Arctic face many threats, but thankfully, Tiangong-1 is not one of them.

It's fairly easy to tell where the station is, and its altitude, but there are specific factors that weigh against a more exact predition of when it will fall to Earth.

Aerospace Corporation scientists acknowledge that predicting the location is extremely uncertain, because of constant changes in the atmosphere's density and changes in the spacecraft over time. When the Russian Mir space station was deorbited in 2001, Russia used a Progress cargo spaceship to make sure it re-entered over the Pacific ocean.


Anyone lucky enough to be looking at the right part of the sky when Tiangong-1 starts its fiery descent will likely see a glowing object moving for several minutes, like a shooting star but slower.

Experts have downplayed any concerns about the Tiangong-1 causing any damage when it hurtles back to Earth, with the ESA noting that almost 6,000 uncontrolled re-entries of large objects have occurred over the past 60 years without harming anyone. The two yellow bands have a higher probability.

Check back in the days ahead for more updates.

Launched in 2011, Tiangong 1 was China's first space station, serving as an experimental platform for bigger projects such as the Tiangong 2 launched in September 2016 and a future permanent Chinese space station. The last crew stayed aboard for almost three months. China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its military-backed program that intends to send a mission to Mars in the coming years.

Experts have reason to believe that some portions of the station will survive the journey through the Earth's atmosphere and reach the surface.

China's Tiangong-1 spaceport station could drop from the skies on April 1.

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