According to Aerospace Corporation, the retired space station may re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere along two narrow bands: 43° North and 43° South latitude.
The estimated window of re-entry for the defunct Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 has narrowed sharply. It carried out 6 successful docking maneuvers using the Shenzhou No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10 spacecrafts, reports the CMS.
Students ask Wang Yaping questions as she delivers a lesson to them from Tiangong-1 space module in the morning of June 20, 2013.
So, China built its very own space station: Tiangong-1. Prior to Tiangong-1, the largest object to fall back to Earth without any control was Salyut-2, a Soviet space station that fell out of orbit after an accident in 1973. China’s chief space laboratory designer, Zhu Zongpeng, has denied Tiangong was out of control, but hasn’t provided specifics on what, if anything, China was doing to guide the craft’s return to Earth.
“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”. The ship’s design lifetime was only set for about two years, according to Space.com, but was kept up in orbit for observational work. Some were dismissive of the Chinese space agency’s characterisations. “It’s a kind of romance created by science and technology”, Bai recalled.
For the past few weeks the fate of Tiangong-1 has provided some drama. “By comparison, the risk of being hit by lightning is one in 1.4 million and the risk that someone in the United States will be killed in a hurricane is about one in six million”, it explains.
Tiangong-1 had not been occupied for three years, so there was no way of knowing for certain where it would land.
“On clear nights, we could see it with the naked eyes”.
A press release by the government of China mentions that their space station isn’t going to be a forever in the sky. Put more simply: The space around Earth is becoming a junkyard. Space enthusiasts have been bracing for its return ever since. It plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future. A series of cutting-edge scientific experiments, such as quantum key distribution, cold atomic clock and gamma ray burst observation, were conducted on the lab.
The next step will be to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station.
The station may have landed north-west of Tahiti, Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said on Twitter.
If intact material from the station is recovered, it’s still Chinese property.