The Chinese derelict Tiangong-1 space station will soon hit Earth’s atmosphere as it makes an unpowered, uncontrolled reentry. Much of it will be burnt up but some of the 9 tonne spacecraft will reach the ground (or more likely, the ocean waves). The current estimate is that the station will meet its doom sometime on April 1st (and that’s no joke).
The Virtual Telescope’s WebTV is offering updates on the space station’s return: Watch China’s Tiangong-1 Space Station in Real Time As It Nears Its Demise – Space.com.
It’s unclear how much of Tiangong-1 will survive the journey, but it’s possible some pieces will fall to the ground. The station has an orbital inclination between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitudes, so it could fall anywhere within those bands. But experts point out that Tiangong-1 is much smaller than the NASA Skylab space station, parts of which crashed into remote areas of Australia in 1979, so most of it may burn up during re-entry. Tiangong-1 weighs only 8.5 metric tons (9.4 tons), compared to Skylab’s 100 tons.
Tracking of the station’s orbit is available at
- Tiangong-1 Reentry | The Aerospace Corporation
- n2yo.com – Live Real Time Satellite Tracking and Preditions: TIANGONG 1.
More about Tiangong-1:
- China’s Out-Of-Control Space Station Is Nowhere Near the Biggest Thing to Fall From Space – Space.com
- Chinese Space Station Crash: Why It’s So Hard to Predict Where Space Debris Will Land – Space.com
- Tiangong 1 Falls, Blue Moon Rises and Mars Takes Aim At Saturn – Universe Today
- Tiangong-1 crash: Track the out-of-control Chinese space station as it plummets to Earth | The Independent
- China’s defunct space lab hurtling toward Earth for re-entry – ABC News