China’s Tiangong 1 space station will burn up in the atmosphere sometime later this month or in early April. Some fragments may survive re-entry. The station has sleeping quarters for two astronauts. China Space Engineering Office
It won’t be long now. China’s first space station, Tiangong 1, a “two-bedroom” fixer-upper, will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere sometime between March 28 and April 10.
The fixer-upper description refers to the fact that the Chinese lost contact with the craft in March 2016, so the original plan to de-orbit the spacecraft over an unpopulated area using on board thrusters won’t happen. Tiangong 1 is on its own and could burn up anywhere along its orbit which overflies a large swath of Earth between the latitudes of 43 N and 43 S. That includes much of the U.S., southern Europe, South America, Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and much of Asia.
Weighing 9.4 U.S. tons, Tiangong 1, Chinese for Heavenly Palace S1, was launched on September 30, 2011. The station saw two manned missions by Chinese taikonauts (China’s name for an astronaut) including Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut.
Tiangong 1 makes a trail across the sky in this time exposure taken ...