24Mar2018

Chinese Space Station Chinese Dangerous Re-entry This Week

 Tiangong-1 is about to crash towards Earth. Source: YouTube

Tiangong-1 is about to crash towards Earth. Source: YouTube

An eight-tonne Chinese space laboratory is about to crash towards the Earth in a fireball – and chunks full of toxic chemicals could hit the ground in Tasmania, experts have warned.

The massive Tiangong-1 satellite contains toxic hydrazine – used in rocket fuel – and could rain down over Australia and other parts of the world. America’s Aerospace Corporation predicts the satellite will re-enter the atmosphere in the first week of April, while the European Space Agency predicts re-entry between 24 March and 19 April, the Guardian reports.

Aerospace Corp says there is a chance that a “small amount of debris” could hit Earth. “If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size,” it said. The massive Tiangong-1 satellite contains toxic hydrazine – used in rocket fuel – and could rain down over Australia and other parts of the world.

America’s Aerospace Corporation predicts the satellite will re-enter the atmosphere in the first week of April, while the European Space Agency predicts re-entry between 24 March and 19 April, the Guardian reports. Aerospace Corp says there is a chance that a “small amount of debris” could hit Earth. “If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size,” it said.

VIDEO: Europe’s space freighter ATV Jules Verne burning up over an uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean at the end of its mission. THIS is what the Chinese Space Station will look like to ground observers.

The ESA says the “current estimated window is March 24 to April 19 – this is highly variable. Reentry will take place anywhere between 43ºN and 43ºS”. The chances of re-entry are slightly higher in Tasmania and New Zealand, but also northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the US, parts of South America and southern Africa.

“Areas outside of these latitudes can be excluded. At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible.” The satellite was launched in 2011 and was intended to be de-orbited in 2013, but it was kept in service to gather data.

The craft, whose name means ‘heavenly palace’ is now dipping back into Earth’s atmosphere. Most pieces of space junk burn up on re-entry, but because of its size, pieces of Tiangong-1 might reach the ground.

Tiangong-1 is about to crash towards Earth. Source: YouTube

Scientists from ESA pointed out in a blog post: “In the history of spaceflight, no casualties due to falling space debris have ever been confirmed”. But in this instance there is an added danger of chunks of the satellite may contain the highly toxic chemical hydrazine.

“Potentially, there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive reentry,” a warning from Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) said. “For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit.” Source: Chinese space station Tiangong-1 crashing to Earth within weeks

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