Venerdì, 18 Agosto, 2017

China Says Its Space Station Is Falling Back to Earth

China's Out-Of-Control Space Station To Burn Up In Atmosphere Next Year China Confirms Its Space Station Is Falling Back to Earth
Carmela Zoppi | 21 Settembre, 2016, 08:50

Wu Ping, deputy director of the Chinese manned space engineering office, said that Tiangong-1 had "comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission", and would be returning to Earth late next year.

China's maiden space station, Tiangong-1, has ended its operations and will fall to Earth sometime in late 2017, Chinese officials have confirmed in a press conference Wednesday.

Tiangong-1 is orbiting 370 kilometers (230 miles) up and is suffering from some drag from the upper layers of our atmosphere. According to Popular Mechanics, the lack of specifics in the previous sentence seems to confirm the theory that China lost control of the space lab some time ago, otherwise, it would probably be scheduled to burn up in the atmosphere somewhere over the ocean.

Space.com surmised that China's inability to give a precise date on the station's re-entry implies it has lost the ability to control the 9.4-ton spacecraft.

“Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling, ” she told China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

Which makes it impossible to know exactly when or where Tiangong-1's debris will fall, and means there's still a chance, however slim, that fragments could strike populated areas.

We'll have to keep a watch on this, because at the moment until China shares more of the facts, there's not that much more we can say for sure.

Over the course of its five-year lifespan, Tiangong-1 conducted observations of various natural phenomena on Earth, including Australian bush fires and the Yuyao floods in the eastern Zhejiang province. This means that while it is still unlikely that falling debris will land in populated areas, it is possible. "But remember - sometimes, the odds just do not work out, so this may bear watching".

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