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Home / Science / Earthbound Chinese space lab to light up the sky like a meteor show

Earthbound Chinese space lab to light up the sky like a meteor show



BEIJING: China's vacated space laboratory could be flung back to earth later than earlier, with the European Space Agency (ESA) returning to the atmosphere on Monday morning (GMT).

The ESA tracks the ship, having previously given a window between noon Saturday and early Sunday afternoon GMT.

Chinese authorities have said that the approximately eight-ton Tiangong-1

is unlikely to cause any damage when it falls and that its fiery decay is a "magnificent" similar to a meteor shower.

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The abandoned ship is expected "The crash between the Afternoon of Sunday and early Monday morning GMT, "ESA said in a blog post announcing its revised forecast.

In their update on Saturday, the agency said the weather is now expected to be a fast stream of solar particles

Such an increase in density would have crashed the spaceship earlier, it said.

The reentry window remains "very variable". The ESA warned. There is similar uncertainty about where debris might end up from the lab.

But there is "no need for people to worry," the China manned aerospace engineering firm (CMSEO) said earlier on its WeChat social media account

falling spacecraft "do not bounce like in science Fiction movies to Earth, but transform into a magnificent (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky, while they are heading to Earth, "it said.

In the last 60 years of space travel Let's face the sign of 6,000 uncontrolled reentries of large objects, mainly satellites and upper [rocket] stadiums.

– Stijn Lemmens | ESA Space Junk Expert

Tiangong-1 – or "Heavenly Palace" – was completed in September Launched in 2011 and planned for controlled re-entry, it failed to function in March 2016 and in space

Uncontrolled re-entry

ESA said the lab would "re-enter" uncontrollably as groundwater Teams are no longer able to launch their engines or engines for orbital adjustments, however, a Chinese space flight engineer denied he was out of control at the beginning of the year.

China will step up its efforts with the Space Affairs Bureau Coordinating the United Nations as soon as re-entry approaches, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.

Beijing sees its multi-billion dollar Worlds Program as a symbol of the rise of the country.

It plans to send a manned mission to the Moon in the future. China sent another laboratory, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 to reach the manned space station's target by 2022.

Spectacular show

During reentry, the atmospheric drag will tear down solar panels, antennas and other external components at a height of about 100 kilometers (60 miles), according to the Chinese Space Agency.

The increasing heat and friction will cause the main structure to burn or burst, and it should do so

Most fragments will dissolve in the air and a small amount of debris will fall relatively slowly before passing over lands hundreds of square kilometers, most likely in the ocean more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface

Experts have downplayed any concerns over the Tiangong-1, which causes damage when it crashes back to Earth, with the ESA stating that nearly 6,000 uncontrolled reentry of large objects have taken place the last 60 years without hurting anyone.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, estimates that Tiangong-1 is the 50th most massive uncontrolled reentry of an object since 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 – the world's first artificial satellite

At a height of 60 to 70 kilometers, the debris will turn into "a series of fireballs" in which people on the ground "see a spectacular show" said.

What is the probability that debris will hit you?

Over the past 60 years of spaceflight, nearly 6,000 uncontrolled reentries of large objects have been recorded – mainly satellites and upper rocket stages.

More than 90 percent of these pieces of high-tech space junk weighed 100 kilos or more.

"Only one event actually produced a fragment that hit a person, and there was no injury."

Lemmens calculated the odds of being beaten by space debris at one in 1.2 trillion – 10 million times less likely to be struck by lightning.

China's space program, which launched Tiangong-1 in September 2011, was largely the fate of China's first space station, designed to test technologies related to docking.

Daily updates to his official website have tracked his gradual descent – average high on Tuesday was 207.7 kilometers – but not much else.

On Monday, China's sta Xinhua News Agency quoted the agency as stating that the space laboratory should be "completely incinerated as soon as it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere".

Tiangong participated in two manned missions and one unmanned mission during his operational life.

As with all major satellites and spaceships, the Chinese space lab was designed for a "controlled reentry" that would have dropped it somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, far from human habitation.

In March 2016, the space station ceased

More than 5,000 rockets launched into space since 1957 have orbited some 7,500 satellites, of which more than 4,300 are still in position.

Debris tracker

The US Space Surveillance Network tracks approximately 23,000 debris objects at speeds of up to 28,000 kilometers per hour.

Statistical models estimate that there are nearly 30,000 objects with a diameter of at least 10 centimeters and 20 times that number with a diameter of 1 to 10 centimeters

"These form a real collision risk for spacecraft and manned space activities," said Lemmens.

"What we are really afraid of is the so-called" Kessler syndrome ", where objects collide in an exponential cascade with a collision that causes thousands of fragments that in turn collide with others."


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