An artistic Illustration of china’s Tiangong-1 space lab, which is expected to fall back to Earth between March 30 and April 2, 2018.
Chinese Tiangong-1 space lab will most likely fall to Earth between March 30 and April 2, according to the latest forecast of the European Space Agency (ESA) space debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany.
This window is “highly variable,” not very strong, Space debris Office representatives highlighted in the current forecast, which was released yesterday (March 21).
Tiangong-1 was lofted at the end of September 2011, to help the testing of the on-and rendez-vous technologies that are required for the build of a bona fide space station, which China aims to do by the mid-2020. [Chinese Tiangong-1 Space Lab in Photos]
The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou on Nov. 2, 2011. Two piloted missions were then filled visit to Tiangong-1: Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 in June 2012 and June 2013, respectively.
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Meanwhile, ESA will serve as host and manager of the test campaign with respect to the re-entry of Tiangong-1, carried out by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC).
IADC consists of space-debris experts, and other researchers from 13 space agencies and other organizations, including NASA, ESA, the European national space agencies, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Russian Roscosmos, and the China National Space Administration.
IADC members will use the fall of the Tiangong-1 for the run of the annual re-entry test campaign, in which participants ‘ predictions of the window, as well as their respective tracking data sets obtained from radar and other sources. The goal is to cross-verify, cross-analyse and improve the accuracy of the prediction for all members.
Where on Earth?
It is unknown where exactly the Tiangong-1 will fall back to the Earth. But given the spaceship the slope, it will re-enter somewhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitudes.
Due to the Chinese station, mass and materials for construction, there is a distinct possibility that some parts of the Tiangong-1 will survive the fiery trip through the atmosphere of the Earth and come to the surface, experts say.
This version of the story published on Space.com.