Chinese space station Tiangong-1, to fall back to Earth 'in days'

Several US states in potential path of falling Chinese space station

Several US states in potential path of falling Chinese space station

The European Space Agency (ESA) predicted the re-entry period for the Tiangong-1 craft would be from Friday, March 30 to Monday, April 2.

Most of Tiangong-1 will break apart and burn up in Earth's atmosphere, but some of the space station's more solid pieces will probably survive re-entry, experts have said.

It was put into orbit in 2011 and five years later completed its mission, after which it was expected to fall back to Earth.

Dr Wu, a space engineer, explained that if there was no signal link between the space station and ground control then engineers had no ability to direct where the satellite would land.

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Scientists are nervously watching the 19,000-pound Tiangong 1, which will likely make its way back to Earth around April 1, according to the Aerospace Corporation that is closely monitoring the situation. Dozens of uncontrolled spacecraft have reentered the atmosphere that were larger than the small space station, including the United State's first space station, Skylab, which burned up in 1979.

"It's more likely than not that this thing will re-enter over an unpopulated area and it may be that no one ever sees it", said Andrew Abraham, a senior member of the technical staff at the Aerospace Corporation, according to NBC News. And sometimes that junk falls back to Earth.

Given its status as a prototype, Tiangong-1 just isn't that big for a spacecraft, let alone a space station.

When the scientists took the radar image of the spacecraft, that time it was moving at around 18,000 mph/h and the distance from the earth was 270 kilometers.

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That means some debris from the fireball could hit the Earth anywhere in a band between 43 degrees north and south of the equator. But don't worry, it's quite rare for people here on earth to be hit by space debris.

"But you may get to wave it goodbye as it streaks across the sky".

However, even with this new sophisticated technology, it remains hard to estimate the debris' final landing place with a high degree of accuracy, so the exact moment of the Tiangong-1's descent will only be determined just a few hours before.

However, the chance of anyone being hit by parts of the space station were miniscule - estimated to be less than one in 1 trillion.

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Granted, the Mir went through a controlled re-entry over the South Pacific, while no one knows where Tiangong-1 will wind up.

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