In America with it’s out out-of-control leader Donald Trump going off the rails every 20 minutes many have not noticed in the news that an out-of-control Chinese space station is expected to hit Earth in the next 12 hours. However, experts tracking the decaying orbiter admit they still have no idea exactly where the debris will land.
Launched in 2011, the Tiangong-1 was China’s first space station. It has been slowly losing altitude since malfunctioning in 2016.
In November, experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) listed Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria and Greece among possible crash sites should any pieces of the craft fail to burn up in the atmosphere.
According to forecasts, the station will re-enter sometime between Sunday night and early Monday GMT.
“This should not have happened,” David Barnhart, a satellite designer who is the director of the University of Southern California’s space technology and systems group, told Space.com Saturday. “To date, almost everything we put into space, at some point, is going to die. But something that large, we now have the technology to go up to it and prolong its life.”
The Chinese Manned Space Engineering Office says it’s confident the uncontrolled re-entry will not cause any damage. The authority expects the eight-ton lab to disintegrate at an altitude of 80km.
An online tracking hub set up by the Aerospace Corporation suggests the Tiangong-1 is currently orbiting above the South Atlantic Ocean. Parts of the space station will enter Earth’s atmosphere within 12 hours, according to US Air Force authority.
It is expected to come to Earth somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, a range covering most of the United States, China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America.