Wednesday, March 14, 2018

China's Tiangong-1 Spacecraft Due for Uncontrolled Re-Entry

Image Credit: CNSA
Image Credit: CNSA
 A report by the European Space Agency has outlined the current estimated window for China's Tiangong 1 satellite's re-entry. The spacecraft is due to reenter earth from anywhere between March 29 to April 9, 2018.
 Originally launched in 2011, Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace 1) was supposed to experience a controlled re-entry. The plan was to fire the craft's engines to allow the craft to burn up over a large, unpopulated region of the South Pacific ocean. However, in March 2016, ground teams lost control of the spacecraft and it can no longer be commanded to fire its engines.
Image Credit: ESA
Image Credit: ESA
 Reentry is estimated to take place anywhere between 43 degrees north and 43 south. At no time will a precise time or location prediction for re-entry be possible.
 "There is a chance that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris may survive reentry and impact the ground. Should this happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size and centred along a point on the Earth that the station passes over," said Aerospace, a research organization that advises government and private enterprises on space flight, in a statement.

 As the time window for Tiangong 1's destruction approaches, the spacecraft has also been photographed as it makes it was through space and back down towards Earth.

Read more about this fascinating story at: http://earthsky.org/space/china-tiangong-1-uncontrolled-re-entry-mar-apr-2018
Or click here for frequent updates from ESA regarding Tiangong 1: http://blogs.esa.int/rocketscience/2018/01/12/tiangong-1-reentry-updates/

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