Scientists estimate that the long-lost Chinese space station “Heavenly Palace” will make re-entry during the Easter weekend. It is still unclear where it would land, but the descent will happen at some point between March 30 and April 3.
There are still concerns that the bus-sized space station may produce damage. During re-entry, the resulting debris is expected to hit the Earth at the equator.
Warwick Holme who leads University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace noted that only an extremely unlucky guy could get hit by a chunk of the spacecraft. Holme explained that 70% of our home planet is water, while the estimated location of the crash is sparsely populated.
Everyone thinks they’re going to get hit by the Chinese space station. I promise you it’s just not going to happen,
the Australian scientist said.
He also added that there is a higher probability of being hit by a car while crossing the street than getting hit by the Chinese space lab.
China’s First Space Station Status Remains Unknown
China’s “Heavenly Palace” aka Tiangong-1 is the Chinese’s first space station and a replica of the International Space Station (ISS) – the international space laboratory first launched into Earth’s low orbit in 1998.
China’s 8.5-ton spacecraft, however, is much lighter than ISS, which weights around 420 tons. Tiangong-1 was first deployed in 2011 and was designed to last two years. Its lifetime was expanded to 2016. Meanwhile, it hosted one unmanned mission and two manned missions.
In 2016, the Chinese Manned Space Agency (CMSA) acknowledged that Tiangong-1 had ended its last mission. In the meantime, the rumor mill had it that the Chinese lost control of the space lab. The initial plan was to deorbit last fall, but for some odd reason, that didn’t happen. This further fueled the rumors that CMSA had no idea where the spacecraft was. The status of Tiangong-1 is still unknown.
Image Source: Flickr
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