Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 has finally fallen from the sky

Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 has finally fallen from the sky

Chinese Space Station, Heavenly Palace, smashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Different nations are working on programs to explore space in order to know more and more about our universe. The Cold War between the United States and Russia are known to everyone but many other countries are also investing in this field. China and India are massive economical giants who recently launched space missions. India launched a mission to Mars in November 2013 and we are hearing that they are planning another venture these days. Similarly, the Chinese government is quite keen to progress in space exploration and that was the reason behind the construction of a space station by the name of Tiangong-1. Sadly, the disappointing news of its falling had been in the media for quite some time and it reached its destructive fate on 2nd of April (according to GMT) in the South Pacific.

The continuous updates from the media made people speculate about the location where it will drop. A lot of space agencies were following this story and media was providing latest updates to the general masses. Despite the forecast from various officials of the renowned space organizations, nothing was confirmed as locating a falling satellite or any other object from the space is not an easy task at all. The expected time of crash announced by the European Space Agency was anytime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. Similarly, the prediction from Aerospace Corp. was also in the same bracket but a lot of uncertainty was attached to them. The statement from Andrew Abraham, a technical representative of Aerospace Corporation, sums it up as he said.

We know that Tiangong-1 is tumbling, or at least it was when Germany took [a] radar update, so the question is it still tumbling, and is the tumbling getting faster or slower.”

China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) was responsible for monitoring this space station. On 1st April, a representative of this organization stated that Tiannong-1 is flying in an orbit of 167.6 kilometers. The statement of CMSEO also nullified the dangers associated with this fall as they told the world that the atmosphere of the Earth will burn most of the station once it reaches there. This issue was complicated due to the irregular movement of Tiannong-1. The angle and the acceleration were way too much different than the calculations of the scientists and it led to anxiety. The researchers estimated that the velocity of the Chinese space station while entering the Earth’s atmosphere will be around 27,000 kilometers per hour. Contrary to that, it was moving slowly and at an unusual angle.

Holder Krag, Head of the Space Debris Office at the European Space Agency, showed his concerns about the behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere and said.

It is very rare to see something like this. It is the upper atmosphere that will create a drag that will eventually bring down the station. That drag is very, very hard to understand and to predict.

Despite that, he ensured the world that the space station will cause harm only to itself. An interesting thing related to space falls is that approximately 13,000 tons of junk has reached our planet but not even a single casualty has been reported to date.

Tiangong-1 which means ‘Heavenly Palace’ broke apart in the Earth’s atmosphere and the parts that remained smashed into the southern Pacific Ocean, near Tahiti. The fall was tracked down closely by making use of the radar movements and the satellite-tracking website of the US Department of Defense. This bus-sized space station was launched in 2011. As it was a prototype, it was expected to last for 2 years and that’s why astronauts landed on it in the 2012 and 2013. Following the second visit, it was put into sleep mode. This was done as a backup measure in case the Tiangong-2 fails. Jonathan McDowell, who works at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, commented on this, following the fall, in the following words.

Some brave person in the Chinese space agency said ‘What if Tiangong-2 doesn’t go up okay? Then we’ll be screwed. We should keep Tiangong-1 up there’. They made a bet that it would be happy hibernating in orbit and it would be fine when they woke it back up again. They lost the bet.”

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