Out Of Control Chinese Space Station Crashes Into Earth

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The out of control Chinese space station which has been spiralling down to Earth over the past few weeks has hit.

The space station, Tiangong-1, was predicted to hit over the Easter weekend and has now crashed to Earth.

It had been previously estimated that the station would enter Earth’s orbit on April 4, and other estimates placed it as crashing on April 3.

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The space station, which is the size of a ‘school bus’ mostly burned up as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere at about 8.15am Beijing time (1.15am BST).

It crashed off the coast of Tahiti, scattering the remaining pieces over the southern Pacific Ocean.

Experts had been concerned because the space station is carrying on board highly toxic chemicals which could have ’caused harm imminently’.

One of the chemicals was the so-called hydrazine, which can cause liver and nerve damage to humans after long-term exposure.

Thankfully most of the space station burnt up as it plummeted down to Earth meaning only a small portion was left upon impact – however it is thought that some parts of the station weigh around 100kg.

It was originally thought that Tiangong-1 would crash into either New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome or Toronto.

Speaking prior to impact, Dr Hugh Lewis, a senior lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southampton, told MailOnline:

The spacecraft is travelling around a more or less circular orbit, which is tipped with respect to the equator at 43 degrees.

If you plot this path on a map of the Earth, it produces a sine wave pattern, with the slower curve of the wave in northern and southern latitudes and the faster straighter sections running from east to west.

Pixabay

Before impact, the spacecraft was speeding up and falling at a rate of 6km a week, as opposed to 1.5km a week in October.

Another expert, Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University, told The Guardian:

Every couple of years something like this happens, but Tiangong-1 is big and dense so we need to keep an eye on it.

It’s only in the final week or so we’re going to be able to start speaking about it with more confidence.

I would guess a few pieces will survive re-entry. But we will only know where they are going to land after the fact.

The Guardian reported China Manned Space Engineering Office said:

Through monitoring and analysis by Beijing Aerospace Control Centre and related agencies, Tiangong 1 re-entered the atmosphere at about 8.15am, April 2, Beijing time (1.15am GMT). The re-entry falling area is located in the central region of the South Pacific.

Most of the devices were ablated during the re-entry process.

In 1991 the Soviet Union’s 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station crashed into Earth while it was still attached to another 20-tonne spacecraft called Cosmos 1686. They broke up over Argentina, scattering debris over the town of Capitán Bermúdez.

And NASA’s 77-tonne Skylab space station crashed to Earth in 1979, with some large pieces landing outside Perth in Western Australia, according to the Guardian.

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