China’s space station is losing it’s orbit and falling to Earth


Making things worse, we don’t know when and where it will enter the atmosphere and hit the ground.

The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is coming back to Earth, but in a very uncontrollable and unpredictable way. The European Space Agency, or ESA, has been keeping an eye on the space station for a while and stated in this blog post that the estimated time of “arrival” is from 29 March to 9 April. However, keep in mind tho, this is very, very variable. And the crash location is also very unpredictable. It is estimated to fall somewhere between 43 degrees North and South, but due to the nature of the trajectory, it is more likely it will crash near the maximum or minimum than on the equator. However, don’t expect a huge metal thing to fall from space. Most of it will burn out in the atmosphere, but some parts will still hit Earth.

Launched in September of 2011, it hosted two crewed missions. However, in 2016, it stopped responding to commands from Earth. And due to the nature of it’s low orbit, ever so often, the trajectory needs some minor adjustments to maintain it’s orbit. Because it is not receiving commands from Earth, it is basically dead in space.

You shouldn’t worry, tho, as the likelihood of the space station landing in your back yard is very, very, very low. The ESA notes that, because vast stretches of the Earth are unpopulated, “In the history of spaceflight, no casualties due to falling space debris have ever been confirmed.” It’s more than likely that record will continue after this, but the situation is worth keeping an eye on regardless.

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