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542 Zenaida Urbano//
Defunct space lab set to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere

China’s defunct Tiangong 1 space station hurtled toward Earth on Sunday and was expected to re-enter the atmosphere within hours.

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

The European Space Agency forecast that the station, whose name translates as ‘Heavenly Palace’, will re-enter sometime that between Sunday night and early Monday GMT. The Chinese space agency said it should happen during the course of Monday, Beijing time.

The Aerospace Corp. predicted that Tiangong 1’s re-entry would take place within 2 1/2 hours of either side of 0010 GMT Monday (8.10 p.m.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

elmercuriodechile.com
Sunday EDT.)

Based on the space station’s orbit, it will come back to Earth somewhere 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, a range covering most of the United States, China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia, and South America.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

elmercuriodechile.com
Out of range are Russia, Canada, and northern Europe.

Only about 10 per cent of the bus-sized,

8.5-ton spacecraft will likely survive being burned up on re-entry, mainly its heavier components such as its engines.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

elmercuriodechile.com
The chances of any one person being hit by debris are considered less than one in a trillion.

Launched in 2011, Tiangong 1 was China’s first space station, serving as an experimental platform for bigger projects, such as the Tiangong 2 launched in September 2016, and a future permanent Chinese space station.

The station played host to two crewed missions and served as a test platform for perfecting docking procedures and other operations.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

elmercuriodechile.com
Its last crew departed in 2013, and contact with it was cut in 2016.

Since then, it has been orbiting gradually closer and closer to Earth on its own while being monitored.

Western space experts say that they believe China has lost control of the station.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

mundinews.com
China’s chief space laboratory designer Zhu Zongpeng has denied Tiangong was out of control, but hasn’t provided specifics on what, if anything, China is doing to guide the craft’s re-entry.

AP

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© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

© Zenaida Urbano

© Zenaida Urbano Taylor

mundinews.com

© Zenaida Claret Urbano

© Zenaida Taylor

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