Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is hurtling towards earth; know more

China's first space station, Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace"), will come crashing back down to Earth between March 30 and April 2 in an uncontrolled re-entry, according to the latest forecast by the European Space Agency.

Tiangong-1 was put into orbit on September 29, 2011 as a stepping stone towards the launch of China's first full-size space station, which is expected to be completed in the early 2020s. Still, it is impossible to determine where the station, which is now circling the Earth 16 times a day, will come down.

ASI experts calculate that Tiangong-1 will re-enter earth's atmosphere on April 1st at 12:25 pm Italian time, though that estimate could be as much as 48 hours off.

But even if it does fall nearby, Aerospace reports you're one million times more likely to win the Powerball jackpot than be hit by a piece of debris from Tiangong-1.

The fuel tank is likely made of titanium, giving it a chance of making it back to Earth.

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A Chinese space station is expected to plunge to Earth in about a week.

Frequent updates will soon begin to be issued in news sources as Tiangong-1 is now trending on Google News in the Science category, and that will likely not change until it's over and done.

Only one person in history was hit by space debris falling to Earth.

"Everyone thinks they're going to get hit by the Chinese space station".

It is a huge area that includes Brisbane as well as Boston, Beijing and Buenos Aires - and one that is unlikely to become more precise.

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Given its status as a prototype, Tiangong-1 just isn't that big for a spacecraft, let alone a space station. The school bus-sized, almost 10-ton module has since outlived its usefulness, having since been replaced by China's larger Tiangong-2 space station in 2016.

The satellite flies over Italy between three and four times a day for around three minutes at a time, Paolo Volpini of the Italian Amateur Astronomers Union (UAI) told Ansa.

Tiangong-1 was visited by taikonauts - Chinese astronauts - twice over the course of its life.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University, recorded the speed of Tiangong-1 at about 6km a week, faster than its recorded speed at 1.5km in October.

In case you're concerned about debris, the Virtual Telescope Project reminds us that the possibility of being struck by a chunk of the space station is extremely low.

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Another radar view of China's space station Tiangong-1 as seen by the Tracking and Imaging Radar system at the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques near Bonn, Germany.


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