Tiangong-1: China’s first space station weighing 19,000lbs heads towards Earth in a freefall

China's out-of-control space station may crash to Earth in 2 months.

  • Published: January 4, 2018 9:57 AM IST

A Chinese space station named Tiangong-1 is about to crash on Earth. Tiangong-1 is China’s first space station and was launched in late September 2011. Weighing about 19,000lbs, the space station was pushed past its usable lifespan, making it clear that the Chinese authorities have lost control over it.

However, space agencies all the world are now predicting where exactly will the massive chunk of space junk land. The authorities say that most of the satellite is expected to burn up when it re-enters the atmosphere in March but up to 40 percent could survive as debris. Any surviving pieces of Tiangong-1 are predicted to land in the ocean.

“It is a well known scientific principle that any measurement or prediction will always have an associated uncertainty,” The Aerospace Corporation notes on its website. “In the case of most reentering objects, the uncertainty associated with predicting reentry location is extremely large and precludes an accurate location prediction until shortly before the reentry has occurred…Based on Tiangong-1’s inclination, however, we can confidently say that this object will reenter somewhere between 43° North and 43° South latitudes.”

While the location of the fall is not yet clear, the Aerospace Corporation cites a map showing possible areas where Tiangong-1 may land. The yellow strips are the most likely places, while the large green section in the center has a lower probability.

Other reports also suggest that Tiangong-1 is packed with rocket fuel hydrazine contains highly toxic and corrosive substance that can cause nerve and liver damage after long-term exposure, said a statement.

  • Published Date: January 4, 2018 9:57 AM IST