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Oklahoma A Possible Landing Spot For Falling Chinese Space Station

28 March 2018

But the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee calculates the odds of a person being hit by whatever is not burned up during re-entry to be 10 million times less than the chance of a person being hit by lightning.

Due to the Chinese station's mass and construction materials, there is a possibility though that some portions of Tiangong-1 will survive the fiery journey through Earth's atmosphere and reach the surface, experts say.

The UAE Space Agency on Sunday said that China's Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory's fall back to Earth poses virtually no risk to residents or structures here.

Tiangong-1's potential re-entry areas.

While Skylab is the most famous spacecraft to fall in an uncontrolled fashion back to Earth, there are many others that have attracted attention over the years. NASA shut down its Space Shuttle Program following the launch of Atlantis in July 2011 and has sent astronauts up to the International Space Station on Russian launches ever since.

It's not uncommon for space debris, such as spent satellites and rocket stages, to fall to Earth although vessels that are capable of supporting human life are much rarer.

You can bet the same will happen after the Chinese space station reenters Earth's atmosphere.

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Having a roughly 5-day window to watch means that the space station could really fall anywhere, but even as the window narrows, it is still going to be quite hard to know where Tiangong-1 is going to come down.

The space station will fall somewhere between about 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude, according to its orbit.

The Tiangong-One, or the "Heavenly Palace", is a 34-foot-long structure that weighs 9.4 tons.

Future spacecraft will also be "designed for demise" upon reentry.

Most of it will burn up on re-entry, but there's always a chance some of it will survive and hit Earth.

At the moment, the Tiangong-1 orbits over Italy roughly every 90 minutes, three to four times a day at an altitude between 220 and 220km above Earth. That compares with a one-in-1.4 million chance of a person in the U.S. being struck by lightning. "For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit".

"By precisely determining the orbital data of Tiangong-1 until it re-enters at the end of March/beginning of April 2018, FHR offers the German Space Situational Awareness Center valuable support in forecasting the time and place of re-entry", Fraunhofer FHR representatives said in the statement.

Oklahoma A Possible Landing Spot For Falling Chinese Space Station