Chinese Space Lab Tiangong 1 Heading Back to Earth


Jeff Vaughan, Staff Reporter

China reported on the fourteenth of September that they have lost control over their first laboratory space station, which is known as Tiangong 1.

Other international observers like NASA don’t know exactly where the station will hit back on Earth since the Chinese controllers can no longer steer it, but are monitoring it to see if the station has any collisions with any other objects.

As of right now they believe that the debris will land in the ocean or the underwater graveyard as they call it. The station is going to hit the atmosphere sometime at the end of 2017.

Wu Ping is a director for China’s space engineering office and claims that most of the debris from the station will burn up upon entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

However, according to Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard University Astrophysicist, as much as 2,000 lbs of the debris will survive the re-entry due to the material that the debris is made of, like the rockets for example.

The original rockets that were used for the station are so dense that they can withstand an enormous amount of pressure.

A ton of metal possibly falling from the sky would be a very big deal over any populated area; thankfully most of the Earth’s surface is water.

McDowell also claims that, “We probably won’t know better then six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it’s going to come down.”

The station was decommissioned in March 2016 after running zero gravity and solar radiation experiments for a successful four-and-a-half years.