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China's Tiangong-1 space station is about to return to Earth - Zedta - 03-26-2018

So, 8 tons of Chinese spaceware is about to come down to earth as a firey ball of metal and such, but because the sun has been relatively quiet, its been delayed and where it will hit, at this juncture, is a tossup. Most of the area it is passing over, so far, is ocean, so, hopefully, its not a threat to populated areas. We shall see. Its coming in next month, sometime in the first 4 days of April. What an April Fool's Joke   :aprilfool:   if it were on April 1st! Sadly, its no joke, though! :asianbow: :nervous:

Quote:[Image: 2c55767c-48ac-43a9-a87d-c9319458f7a9.jpg] Space Weather News for March 26, 2018

CHINESE SPACE STATION TO DISINTEGRATE: China's Tiangong-1 space station is about to return to Earth--as a massive fireball. Low solar activity kept Tiangong-1 in orbit longer than officials predicted, but it's finally coming down. The European Space Agency says the 8-ton craft should re-enter sometime between March 30th and April 2nd, a window of uncertainty which will narrow in the days ahead. Visit for more information and ground tracks.

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Above: The green band in this map shows the broad area where Tiangong-1 could potentially re-enter, given the uncertainties on March 26th. Source: The European Space Agency's Tiangong-1 Reentry FAQ.

RE: China's Tiangong-1 space station is about to return to Earth - Zedta - 03-31-2018


Quote:Link to Original Article

The worlds waits for Tiangong-1 to fall | Space
6-8 minutes

The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will reenter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend. Updated reentry predictions here. Plus video showing some last glimpses of the space station.

[Image: glTiangong-e1522473853870.jpg]

Illustration via Guy Ottewell’s blog. Read his thoughts on the statistical chances a piece of Tiangong-1 will hit us.

The most recent calculation by Aerospace Corporation calls for China’s first space station, Tiangong-1, to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on April 1 at 16:15 UTC ± 9 hours. Here’s how you can translate UTC to your time. The European Space Agency (ESA), in its March 30 update, nearly agrees. ESA gives the dates as the night of 31 March to the late evening of 1 April (in UTC time) and still calls these dates highly variable.

Meanwhile, experienced sky observers caught video of Tiangong-1 last week, as it sped across our sky on its way to a fiery demise this weekend. We know of at least two who succeeded in this demanding observation. See their videos below.

Brian Ottum posted his view of the space station – from early in the day on Wednesday – on Instagram:

The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome and Tenagra Observatories in Arizona provided an exciting livestream of their successful attempt to view Tiangong-1, also earlier in the day on Wednesday. Check this out! It’s really fun to hear Gianluca Masi‘s commentary and he searches for – and finds – the space station.

As of now (early in the day on March 31, 2018) the spacecraft is at about 113 miles (182 km) in altitude. That’s down from about 134 miles (215 km) altitude on March 24. And it’s down from 155 miles (258 km) on March 7. Its orbit is clearly decaying as you can see if you follow the spacecraft’s descent here. The end will come more or less suddenly, due in part to changing conditions in Earth’s upper atmosphere, which is why it’s so inherently unpredictable.

Have you been hearing specific reentry locations for China’s first space station, Tiangong-1, aka Heavenly Palace 1? I heard Michigan at one point, then Wisconsin.
Don’t believe these specific predictions. Experts are still saying reentry will take place anywhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south (see map below).

As Guy Ottewell points out:
Quote:The satellite’s orbit is inclined 43 degrees to the equator, which means that it passes over latitudes between 43 north and 43 south. That includes all of the Americas between the Great Lakes and southern Argentina, all of southern Europe, Asia from Korea south, all of Africa and Australia and the East Indies. So there are a few tens of millions of square miles of land, and more of water, that a descending piece may choose to hit.

At no time will a precise time or location prediction for reentry be possible.

[Image: tiangong-1-potential-re-entry-area-cp-e1...986864.jpg]

Tiangong-1 potential reentry area. Map showing the area between 42.8 degrees north and 42.8 degrees south latitude (in green), over which Tiangong-1 could reenter. Image via ESA CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.

Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011, and, originally, a controlled reentry was planned. Firing the craft’s engines would have enabled controllers to allow the craft to burn up (mostly) over a large, unpopulated region of the South Pacific ocean. Any surviving pieces would have fallen into the ocean. But, in March 2016, the Tiangong-1 space station ceased functioning. Ground teams lost control of the craft, and it can no longer be commanded to fire its engines. It is, therefore, expected to make an uncontrolled reentry … soon.

The spacecraft’s main body is approximately 34 feet (10.4 meters) long.

ESA has said that Tiangong-1 will “substantially burn up” in Earth’s atmosphere. Will pieces crash to Earth? Possibly. Will they crash in populated areas? It’s not possible to say, but the chances are small that any human being will be harmed, according to a statement from Aerospace, a research organization that advises government and private enterprise on space flight.

Aerospace said:
Quote:There is a chance that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris may survive reentry and impact the ground. Should this happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometers in size and centered along a point on the Earth that the station passes over.

Aerospace also warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board.

Tiangong-1 is not designed to withstand reentry, as some spacecraft are. But it will mostly burn up when it falls, due to the extreme heat and friction generated by its high-speed passage through Earth’s atmosphere.
[Image: tiangong-1-reentry-as-of-March-29-e1522405190196.png]
Tiangong-1’s predicted reentry as of March 29, 2018, via ESA.

Tiangong-1’s major goal was to test and master technologies related to orbital rendezvous and docking. One uncrewed and two crewed missions – executed by the Shenzhou (Divine Craft) spacecraft – took place during its operational lifetime.

ESA explained:
Quote:Following launch in 2011, the Tiangong-1 orbit began steadily decaying due to the faint, yet not-zero, atmospheric drag present even at 300 or 400 km altitude [~200 to 250 miles altitude]. This affects all satellites and spacecraft in low-Earth orbit, like the International Space Station, for example.

Bottom line: China’s first space station will soon undergo an uncontrolled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. As of early in the day on March 31, Aerospace Corporation was predicting April 1 at 16:15 UTC ± 9 hours. At no time will a precise time or location prediction for reentry be possible.

Live, real-time tracking of Tiangong-1 here

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Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.

RE: China's Tiangong-1 space station is about to return to Earth - Zedta - 04-01-2018

Looks like southern South America is in the zone tomorrow.

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