Science channel Science Verge writes that at the end of March 2018 Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will fall to the Ground. This event is remarkable from several factors:
Established in 2011, Tiangong-1 — (second name – “Heavenly Place”) is the first Chinese space station.
Spacecraft of this size or more, the operators usually have a plan to safely get rid of them when they reached the end of its mission. If a large vehicle has the engines, it is possible to use the remaining fuel of the spacecraft to output the desired orbit and further dip it into the ocean. Or you can send another spacecraft with an engine to dock with a decaying vehicle, and to tow it to a safe place.
Here’s another story. Space station Tiangong-1 had to utilize in 2013, but China has decided to extend its service life for a couple of years. And in 2016 Chinese space Agency announced that it lost contact and control of the space station. And since its orbit is slowly reduced, and this means that eventually happens uncontrolled fall to the Ground. It is still unknown where exactly it will fall.
The space surveillance network the United States and space agencies of other countries were watching her and all we really know is that it will fall somewhere between 43 degrees North latitude and 43 degrees South latitude. This may seem a large area, but a large part of the surface of the Earth is included in the region covered by ocean. And a large part of the land, which included, remains deserted.
The probability that the Chinese space station falls on the territory of Russia is very small. But it should be noted that small fragments may significantly deviate from the path. Their fall may be outside the designated areas.
This is not the first time that large aircraft fall to Earth for an unknown trajectory. In 2011 unsuccessful launch of Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt, intended to study Mars, led module at a very low earth orbit.
Its weight was about 13.5 tons. In 2012, the ship fell into the Pacific ocean. The old space station NASA Sky Lab also made an uncontrolled return — and weighed about 72.5 tons, when she fell to the Ground.
50 years of rocket launches only one person was injured from debris. Her name is Lottie Williams and a tiny piece of the rocket “Delta” which hit her in the shoulder when she returned from a walk.
Lottie Williams was the victim of space debris
The fall of the Tiangong-1 will help professionals to improve their forecasting models to more accurately determine the location of such uncontrolled falling objects.