Heads Up: Rogue Chinese Space Station Could Crash Next Week

posted by RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter - 

Tiangong-1 spacecraft

Just a heads up in case you were in any cities on the 43N parallel next week. A Chinese satellite filled with the rocket fuel hydrazine is due to come crashing back down to Earth on April 3rd. 

Experts say most of the 8.5 ton craft will likely burn up when it re-enters the earth's atmosphere, but, anywhere from 5 to 40 percent of it could survive its plummet back to the ground as debris. 

Tiangong-1, which can be translated as "Heavenly Palace," was first launched by the Chinese space program back in 2011 as part of an intended manned laboratory. The prototype space station was visited by a series of spacecraft launched by China during its two-year lifespan. 

An amateur satellite tracker watching the satellite determined that China's space agency had lost control of the station and entered an uncontrolled orbit in June 2016. 

Aerospace Corp, a research company based in El Segundo, Calfiornia, says they've run the calculations on where they believe the satellite will most likely come crashing back down to earth. They say the most likely areas where it will come down include Northern China, central Italy, the Middle East, New Zealand, Tasmania, South America and Southern America. 

The most likely impact areas are near some major cities such as New York City, Madrid, Spain and Beijing in China. Experts have ruled out any areas above the 43 degrees north or south. 

Scientists are only sure about one thing - when the satellite will impact. But, don't worry about taking cover next week or being hit by debris. Experts say the odds that a specific person will be hit by debris is about one million times smaller than hitting the Powerball jackpot. 

The largest man-made object to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere was the Mir space station back in 2001 which weighed over 142 tons. 

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