Tiangong-1 Reentry: Key Information

Tiangong-1 Reentry: Key Information

When will it reenter?

  • Control of Tiangong-1 was lost in 2016 making precise predictions about it's reentry difficult. 
  • The current estimated reentry date is the 1st of April.
  • This date is provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) and The Aerospace Corporation, but they have considered it to be highly variable. 
  • The ESA estimates the reentry window lasting between the 31st of March and the 2nd of April, while The Aerospace Corporation estimates this window lasting between the 30th of March and the 2nd of April

Where will it crash?

  • Because of Tiangong-1's orbit it will reenter between 43º North and 43º South with reentry being more probable at these two parallels. 
  • Most of Tiangong-1 will disintegrate in the atmosphere. 
  • Since 71% of the Earth's surface is water, it is most likely to crash in the ocean. However bits of debris that break off as it is falling could spread over a thin 1000 mile long "footprint" according to Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer. 
  • There is a 0.0000000000001% chance that a part of it will hit you.

Background Information

  • Tiangong-1, meaning "Heavenly Palace", was China's first prototype space station and was launched in 2011.
  • It served as a manned laboratory and an experimental testbed. 
  • It ended its service in 2016.
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