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28 March 2018, 01:07 | Floyd Cook
Oklahoma A Possible Landing Spot For Falling Chinese Space Station
Space experts predict the Tiangong-1 space station, or "Heavenly Palace", will turn into a spectacular fireball as it enters Earth's atmosphere sometime during the Easter long weekend.
The likelihood of debris from the defunct space station hitting Italy is 0.2 percent, the agency (ASI) said on Monday after a meeting with the Civil Protection Department, which helps prepare for and manage disasters.
China's space agency, CNSA, have never fully explained why Tiangong-1 "ceased functioning" on March 16 after reaching its "final phase of life". It hosted three space crews whose members performed science experiments, including one group of astronauts who remained on the station for a then-record 84 days.
Experts say the potential danger to humans is small.
Bigger than a school bus with a mass of 8,500 kilograms (9.4 tons), Tiangong-1 is by no means the biggest humanmade object to come hurtling through the atmosphere.
The crash date could be around April 1 but the exact date could be a day before or later as well. McDowell says that might look like what some people saw when a rocket of about Tiangong-1's weight fell near the Peru-Brazil border in January-a fiery, white light in the sky.
It was launched by China's National Space Administration (CNSA) in 2011 as a prototype ahead of the Chinese large modular space station, the core module of which is expected to launch next year.
"China's secrecy around this nationally significant space mission has meant that the global community doesn't know what the craft is made of", Mr Duffy said.
A plot of Tiangong-1's orbit shows that some areas of the world are more likely to see it re-enter Earth's atmosphere. A portion of southern MI is included on the northern "yellow band" region, which has a "higher probability" of encountering debris from the Chinese spacecraft. An official Chinese statement declared that Tiangong-1 terminated its data service on March 21, 2016. Formerly it was notified that the spaceport station might drop in between 43 levels north as well as 43 levels southern latitudes, which is covered with water and also several of its components might strike the ground.
"Some parts of the upper atmosphere are thicker than others meaning the craft slows unpredictably and since it travels around the Earth in just 90 minutes even an uncertainty of a two minutes means the craft could fall anywhere along a 1,000 kilometer track", Duffy said.
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