A huge Chinese space station is crashing back to Earth, although authorities say there is nothing to fear on the ground.
Authorities are well aware that China’s Tiangong-1 space station is doomed and will eventually end up crashing back to Earth. And there is some concern, however small, that chunks of it could fall in populated areas in Southeast Asia.
China’s space agency says that the chance that the decommissioned space station would hit somewhere in Thailand is only about 0.1 percent. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace 1, is the first space laboratory ever built by China and was launched back in 2011 to carry out some initial experiments that would pave the way for a permanent Chinese space station on the order of the International Space Station sometime in 2023.
Authorities have been closely watching Tiangong-1 and trying to determine where and when it will collide with Earth. Right now, they expect it will happen sometime in April, so we’re only weeks away from the event. Authorities believe that most of its parts will burn up in the atmosphere, but some chunks could make it through and land somewhere near Thailand.
“Tiangong-1 is China’s first prototype space station, serving as both a manned laboratory and an experimental testbed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities,” reads an excerpt from Wikipedia on Tiangong-1. “Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is the first operational component of the Tiangong program, which aims to place a larger, modular station into orbit by 2023.”