Beware! Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 Expected To Fall From Space In April 2018

| March 21 , 2018 , 17:17 IST

Recent reports on Tiangong-1, an eight-tonne Chinese space station launched in 2011, indicate that it will fall from the sky soon. New calculations made by Aerospace Corporation and the European Space Agency indicate that the space station could crash into Earth between 28 March and 11 April 2018.

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Aerospace Corporation is a non-profit corporation that provides technical guidance and advice on space missions, and these new estimates are according to its most recent report. The European Space Agency’s forecast which matches that of Aerospace Corporation was issued on March 15.

In fact, the latter has shrunk the fall to be sometime between 30 March and 6 April this year.

Tiangong-1’s mission had officially ended in March 2016 and had been replaced by Tiangong-2, but it was still kept in space, orbiting at an average height of 250km. The Tiangong-1 has been in a precarious position for the past several months as China’s space agency confirmed that it had lost control of it.

Earth has a thin outer atmosphere that extends a force on objects that are at low altitudes (around or below 2000 Km) in the orbit. The force is sporadic, affected by the earth’s magnetic field and the solar wind and changes in the sun’s activity which ultimately influence the density of the outer atmosphere. However without frequent boosts, the object falls out of orbit.

Also Read: Chinese Space Station Expected To Crash Land On Earth By Early 2018

The specifications of the orbit of the Tiangong-1 give some bleak indication that the fall might be between latitudes 43° north and 43° south - which is a huge geographic expanse.

For sure, the falling Tiangong-1 will make for a spectacular fireball show in the skies. But we are also relying on the fact that the earth is mostly made of water, for hoping that there would be only a slim chance of any of the components of the falling Tiangong-1 from space hitting someone on earth.