China’s First Space Station Is Expected To Crash On Earth This Year

The Tengong-1 space station will crash into Earth in the following months.

China’s first space station, Tiangong-1 is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in 2018.

China’s first space station, Tiangong-1 aka “Heavenly Palace” is set to crash on Earth in the following months. Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit company based in California, predicted in December that the spacecraft will re-enter our planet’s atmosphere somewhere between the middle of March and the end of April 2018.

Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011 and, while it was initially designed to last for two years, Chinese authorities extended its lifespan by a couple more years to conduct further experiments.

China’s Manned Space Engineering Office announced in September 2016 that the Tiangong-1 would re-enter the atmosphere by the end of 2017. The claim prompted many experts to assume that Chinese authorities had lost control of the lab. Aerospace Corporation states that the spacecraft had been in this state ever since June 2016.

According to the company, the 8.5-ton vessel will penetrate Earth’s atmosphere at more than 15 thousand mph all the while being subjected to intense heat and pressure. Most of Tiangong-1 will burn up in the fall.

For those who fear of an encounter with falling debris, do not worry. Aerospace Corporation predicts that the spacecraft’s remnants will fall in an area that is largely covered by ocean. Surviving pieces are also thought to land in several countries including the US, Brazil, and China. According to the report, the Tiangong-1 is orbiting Earth 100 km lower than it was in September 2016. The current average height of the space station is 287 km (178 miles).

There is a possibility that intact components of the spacecraft may crash on Earth, according to Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer that specializes in atmospheric re-entry. This is due to Tiangong-1 multiple layer design that protects it from unwanted collisions.

“If you’ve got enough layers, a lot of the energy is gone before a particular object falls out, it doesn’t get hot, and it lands on the ground,” states Ailor.

While China lost contact with the space station on March 16, 2016, they believe Tiangong-1 has fulfilled its “historic mission”.

Image Source: WikipediaCommons

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