Abril 20, 2018

Chinese space station's re-entry time narrowed

02 Abril 2018, 09:58 | Benedicto Grullon

Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 Crashes Over South Pacific Ocean

China's Tiangong-1 space station came down in Pacific Ocean

Along with scientists at China's space agency, teams from around the world closely monitored the lab's final minutes as it screamed down from the heavens.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters that most of the lab burned up as it re-entered the atmosphere.

Tiangong-1 reentered the atmosphere at 5:16 p.m.

"Tiangong-1 is China's first space station", explained Phil Larson, Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder. Any debris that reaches the ground will be "floating down at a very slow speed due to their small mass", the report said.

Naturally, with news that a massive space station was hurtling at speed towards Earth, many people began to panic.

However, despite the worrying thought of a huge space station crashing towards earth, there was never any real cause for alarm. It has been used twice to practice how taikonauts, China's term for its astronauts, would dock to a space station. In fact, the main mission of the Tiangong-1 was to create a platform where docking could be tested in outer space.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics stated "It did exactly what it was expected to do".

It had said shortly before that it was expected to re-enter off the Brazilian coast in the South Atlantic near the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, is orbiting at an average height of about 216.2km, the announcement noted, but did not disclose any re-entry location. The chances of any one being hit by debris are considered less than one in a trillion. However in March 2016 data transmissions between the ship and ground control stopped for reasons Chinese officials can not explain.

Visitors sit beside a model of China's Tiangong-1 space station at the 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai in 2010.

The space station had raced away over the fall in the largely deserted Pacific in daylight over Pöngjang and the Japanese city of Kyoto, said the United States expert Jonathan McDowell.

Experts had struggled to suggest where it might land - with China's own space agency guessing it would be near Brazil.

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