The much-anticipated out-of-control Taingong-1 spaceship of China is expected to hit and crash on Earth on Monday, according to reports by China’s space authority.
The Tiangong-1 is expected to make an uncontrollable fall on Monday at Beijing time, said China Manned Space Engineering Office in a statement. The estimates by China Manned Space Engineering Office about the spacecraft’s fall are roughly linked with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The eight-tonne Tiangong-1 spacecraft had stopped sending any data and had entered its final stage on March 16, the agency reported. The Chinese space agency had lost the control over the Tiangong-1 in 2016, five years after its launch.
The Chinese authorities had pre-relieved that the space lab will not cause any damage to humans or their properties. Instead, the fall will offer more of a splendid meteor show.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office said, “There is no need for people to worry. Such falling spacecraft do not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies but turn into a splendid meteor shower and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth.”
On March 26, the ESA had released a map marking the probable locations where the spacecraft could crash in green. The ESA’s prediction was unspecific, but it included the Indian region too in the markings.
The ESA’s earlier plan was to bring the spacecraft back to Earth through a controlled final descent and make it land safely somewhere in any one of the oceans of the world.
However, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said that most of the spacecraft will burn before hitting the Earth. It said in a statement, “It will mostly burn up due to the extreme heat generated by its high-speed passage through the atmosphere.”
The ESA’s Space Debris Office said, “March 30 to April 2 window is “highly variable,” and it will not be possible to determine exactly where the space station will fall to Earth. However, the space station will re-enter somewhere between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, based on its current orbital inclination. Areas above or below these latitudes can be excluded. At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible.”
Holger Krag, Head of the Space Debris Office said, “Owing to the geometry of the station’s orbit, we can already exclude the possibility that any fragments will fall over any spot further north than 43ºN or further south than 43ºS.”