A hellish fall for 'the heavenly palace'
28 March 2018
An eight-tonne, out-of-control Chinese space station, which is hurtling towards the Earth, is expected to re-enter the atmosphere between 31 March and 4 April.
Moving at 17,000 mph, Tiangong-1 (‘The heavenly palace,’) was originally supposed to have a controlled re-entry in the Pacific Ocean. However, about two years ago, Chinese rocket scientists lost control over the station, which then began hurtling back towards the Earth.
China expects the space station to burn on re-entering the Earth, but experts say there is a 10 to 40 per cent chance of it surviving the fire and landing on land or the ocean. State-run Xinhua news agency claimed that the spacelab should be fully burnt as it reenters the Earths’ atmosphere.
The space station went into orbit in September 2011 and was planned to be decommissioned two years later. But China extended the mission.
Experts say that uncontrolled re-entries of space craft is not unusual and every year about 100 of them – mostly satellite and upper rockets – crash into the Earth. And of these, just one hit an individual, who did not sustain any injuries.