Sunday 21 October 2018

Defunct Chinese space station hurtling towards Earth to enter atmosphere in 24 hours

Scientists say it poses only a slight risk to people on the ground

A model of the Tiangong-1 space lab module (L), the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft (R) and three Chinese astronauts is displayed during a news conference at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, China June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
A model of the Tiangong-1 space lab module (L), the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft (R) and three Chinese astronauts is displayed during a news conference at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, China June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

China's defunct Tiangong 1 space station is hurtling towards Earth and expected to re-enter the atmosphere within the next day.

Most of it should burn up on re-entry, so scientists say it poses only a slight risk to people on the ground.

The European Space Agency has forecast that the station will re-enter sometime between Sunday night and early Monday GMT.

The Aerospace Corp predicted re-entry seven hours either side of 0200 GMT on Monday.

Tiangong 1 is expected to come to Earth somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, a range covering most of the United States, China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America.

Out of range are Russia, Canada and northern Europe.

Only about 10% of the 8.5-tonne spacecraft is likely to survive re-entry.

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