Tiangong-1 reentry now estimated between March 25 and April 17


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China’s first space station, a test module called Tiangong-1, is now expected to reenter the atmosphere and crash to Earth sometime between March 25 and April 17.

The Tiangong-1 space lab was launched in 2011 to test docking technology and life support by hosting two crews, but loss of control over the spacecraft’s propulsion means it cannot be deorbited in a controlled manner.

The spacecraft’s orbit is decaying due to atmospheric drag and that process is accelerating as Tiangong-1 runs into denser concentrations of particles at lower altitudes.

The station will break-up during reentry, and most of it will burn up. However, some chunks will hit the ground. The article gives details about how they are tracking it in preparation for reentry.

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