China's out-of-control space station will crash to Earth,could hit southern Europe or the US, countries at risk include Spain, Italy, Turkey and India.

China's first space station, Tiangong-1, has been out of control since September 2016, and now experts have predicted when and where it will come crashing back down to Earth.

The European Space Agency (ESA) predicts that the 8.5-tonne spacecraft will make an 'uncontrolled re-entry' to our planet between January and March 2018.

While a precise landing location remains unclear, ESA has provided the latitudes between which Tiangong-1 is likely to land – and countries at risk include Spain, Italy, Turkey, India and parts of the US.

While a precise landing location remains unclear, ESA has provided the latitudes between which Tiangong-1 is likely to land ¿ and countries at risk include Spain, Italy, Turkey, India and parts of the US.  ESA says no fragments will fall higher than 43°N or further south than 43°S
 

WHEN ARE WHERE WILL IT LAND? 

The craft is now at about 300 kilometres (186 miles) altitude in an orbit that is expected to decay sometime between January and March 2018, when it will make an uncontrolled re-entry.

Holger Krag, Head of ESA's 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 43°N or further south than 43°S.

'This means that re-entry may take place over any spot on Earth between these latitudes, which includes several European countries, for example.'

 

ESA has announced that it is hosting an international campaign to monitor the re-entry of Tiangong-1 early next year.

The Tiangong-1 spacecraft launched in 2011, with the aim of using the craft to set up a larger space station.

But in September 2016, Chinese officials confirmed that they had lost control of the spacecraft.

The craft is now at about 300 kilometres (186 miles) altitude in an orbit that is expected to decay sometime between January and March 2018, when it will make an uncontrolled re-entry.

Holger Krag, head of ESA's 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 43°N or further south than 43°S.

 

China's first space station, Tiangong-1, has been out of control since September 2016, and now experts have predicted when and where it will come crashing back down to Earth
 
The craft is now at about 300 kilometres (186 miles) altitude in an orbit that is expected to decay sometime between January and March 2018, when it will make an uncontrolled re-entry

'This means that re-entry may take place over any spot on Earth between these latitudes, which includes several European countries, for example.

'The date, time and geographic footprint of the re-entry can only be predicted with large uncertainties.

'Even shortly before re-entry, only a very large time and geographical window can be estimated.'

Much of the spacecraft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. But owing to the station's mass and construction materials, there is a possibility that some portions of it will survive and reach the surface
 

TIANGONG-1 

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume

Tiangong-1 is China's first Space Station Module.

The vehicle was the nation's first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station as a permanent human presence in Low Earth Orbit.

The module was launched on September 29, 2012.

Tiangong-1 features flight-proven components of Chinese Shenzhou Spacecraft as well as new technology.

The module consists of three sections: the aft service module, a transition section and the habitable orbital module.

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres.

It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume. 

 

Much of the spacecraft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere upon re-entry.

But owing to the station's mass and construction materials, there is a possibility that some portions of it will survive and reach the surface.

In the history of spaceflight, no casualties due to falling space debris have ever been confirmed. 

ESA plans to conduct an international expert workshop on 28 February to focus on re-entry predictions, in the hopes of anticipating Tiangong's return to Earth.

The Chinese space agency has been tracking the space station (pictured before it was launched in 2011), and vowed to issue warnings if there are any potential collisions imminent. But not everyone is convinced by this
The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume
 
Source: Mailonline

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