Experts say it's extremely unlikely that large pieces of the schoolbus-sized Tiangong-1 will survive re-entry through the atmosphere, much less that any of these pieces would land on a populated area.
An uncontrolled Chinese space station weighing at least seven tonnes (around 7,000 kg) is set to break up as it hurtles to Earth on or around April 1, the European Space Agency has forecast. The radar image of Tiangong-1 from different perspectives are terrifying.
Beijing has been unable to pinpoint where the debris might fall because the spacecraft is now entirely out of control.
- A Chinese space station is set to crash into Earth in the coming days. But on March 16, 2016, China reported to the United Nations that telemetry services with Tiangong-1 had "ceased functioning" which caused the space station to become space junk. "So just imagine, it's like having the equivalent of a large truck hurtling towards the earth from approximately 2,000km", ISSA director Kristian Zarb Adami said.
No, most of the spacecraft is expected to burn up as it enters Earth's atmosphere. The rotation is one of the factors in determining when the space station will hit Earth. Instead, he points out, you'd need to lodge a complaint with your government who might then seek damages on your behalf.
How the Chinese space station will eventually crash and break apart Aerospace org
"By precisely determining the orbital data of Tiangong-1 until it re-enters at the end of March/beginning of April 2018, FHR offers the German Space Situational Awareness Center valuable support in forecasting the time and place of re-entry", Fraunhofer FHR representatives said in the statement.
The lab fragments, if any, are expected to land somewhere between the latitudes of 43ºN and 43ºS, an area largely covered by the ocean but that also includes countries like the US, Brazil, Spain, and China itself.
Tiangong-1, which means "Heavenly Palace-1", is the first space station China launched into space in 2011.
"A similar size object reentered over Peru in January (the Zenit rocket stage from the Angosat-1 launch) and a few pressurized tank pieces were found on the ground, but pretty much no-one paid attention", McDowell said via email earlier this month.
"You've got a greater probability of getting hit by a auto crossing a Sydney road today than you're going to get hit by the Chinese space station".