Chinese Space Station Could Crash to Earth Late Sunday or Early Monday

Chinese Space Station Could Crash to Earth Late Sunday or Early Monday

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PhillyBiteThe doomed Tiangong-1 is currently expected to fall to Earth around 7:25 p.m. EDT (2325 GMT) on Sunday (April 1), with a window that may stretch into early Monday, officials with ESA's Space Debris Office stated in an update this morning (March 31). As of 5 p.m. EDT today, Aerospace Corp., which is also tracking Tiangong-1, predicts Tiangong-1 will crash at 7:53 p.m. EDT (2353 GMT) Sunday, give or take 7 hours.


The majority of the United States appeared to be in the clear at that time, except for one orbital track that goes over California northeast in direction of Texas. Again, Abraham cautioned, this information is subject to change as predictions are updated.

Current predictions for Tiangong-1 show that the station may fall someplace around Africa, although that area remains highly uncertain. Even a change in time of a minute will alter the predicted debris track by hundreds of miles, cautioned Aerospace Corp. Not only that, Tiangong-1's re-entry time is becoming more delayed and the station may actually enter on April 2, depending on the sun's activity and the station's tumble.

The time for Tiangong-1's uncontrolled descent continues to be highly uncertain, in big part to how quiet the sun has been. If the sun is lively, its energy pushes more strongly against Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere then balloons and becomes denser at increasing altitudes. The density of the atmosphere affects the drag against Tiangong-1's orbital speed. As Tiangong-1 loses energy due to drag, it falls towards Earth.

 

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