'Heavenly palace' has a hellish landing in the South Pacific
02 April 2018
While most of us would prefer an encounter with a ‘heavenly palace,’ this was one such experience that a majority of the people on earth wanted to avoid. Fortunately, nobody was unlucky to end up in such a palace.
The 8.5-tonne Tiangong 1 space station (‘heavenly palace,’ in Mandarin) came to a fiery landing in the South Pacific ocean on Monday morning, as millions of people apparently heaved a sigh of relief at not finding parts of the station crashing on them.
The space station was mostly burned by the time of its screaming re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. According to the European Space Agency, the space lab entered the atmosphere not too far from the uninhabited area that is typically used for controlled re-entries.
The school-bus sized space station came hurtling down at a speed of over 25,000 km an hour.
The Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011 and was China’s first space station. There were two manned missions during its operational life and the station was ‘retired’ in 2015.
However, a year later space authorities in China lost communication and control over it. Since then, it has been hurtling quietly towards Earth.
Though there were fears that the space station could land on Earth without much warning, scientists had downplayed the threats.
According to some experts, the possibility of the space debris hitting a person was just one in a trillion, as against one in 1.4 million chances of a person being hit by lightning, or one in six million in a US hurricane.