Tiangong-1: Chinese space station could crash into Earth early next year

China’s first prototype space platform, Tiangong -1, ought to be able to re-enter the atmosphere early next year, as its operational life comes to an end.

The Tiangong -1 or” Heavenly Palace” lab was launched in 2011 and described as a ” potent political token “~ ATAGEND of China, part of an ambitious scientific move to come China into a room superpower.

According to the European Space Agency( ESA) on Monday( Nov 6 ), the 8.5 -tonne space platform, which is unmanned, will make an” uncontrolled re-entry” to Earth between January and March next year.

Most of the aircraft should burn up in the atmosphere, but parts of the debris could land on Earth, said experts.

The ESA was expected that scraps could fall over any spot within 43 oN and 43 oS, latitudes which encompass major Asian metropolitans such as Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore and New Delhi.

The Middle East, the African continent, specific areas of Europe such as Spain and Italy as well as American metropolis like San Francisco, New York and Miami are also within the latitude range.

The space agency explained that it is not possible to provide more precise landing sites.

” Now that[ its] perigee is below 300 km and it is in denser atmosphere, the rate of deterioration is getting higher ,” said Jonathan McDowell, a renowned astrophysicist from Harvard University and a room manufacture enthusiast.


” The appointment, hour and geographic footprint of the reentry is simply be predicted with large-scale indecisions. Even shortly before reentry, only a very large period and geographical window can be estimated ,” said ESA.

” Owing to the space station’s mass and construction cloths, there is a alternative that some one section of it will live and reach the surface .”

However, the ESA also noted that in the history of spaceflight, “theres been” no confirmed casualties caused by falling room debris.


Tiangong -1, which means” heavenly palace” in Chinese, is 12 m long with a diameter of 3.3 m and a launch mass of eight, 506 kg. It is now at about 300 km altitude in orbit.

It was sent to help China master key rendezvous and docking technologies as a prelude to build a large space platform.

” It has been unoccupied since 2013 and there has been no contact with it since 2016 ,” the ESA said.

The agency added that it will host a test campaign to monitor the re-entry of the space station. Experts will pool their predictions of the time window, as well as their respective tracking datasets obtained from radar and other sources.

” The objective is to cross-verify, cross-analyse and improve the projection accuracy for all members ,” relevant agencies said.