Watch the skies in 2017… September 24, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
I’d only recently mentioned the Chinese space programme. And during this week comes the news that:
China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth next year, fuelling concerns that Chinese space authorities have lost control of the 8.5-tonne module.
The Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace” lab was described as a “potent political symbol” of China’s growing power when it was launched in 2011 as part of an ambitious scientific push to turn China into a space superpower.
Various people contacted by the Guardian suggest that the descent is uncontrolled, that something happened and perhaps somewhat problematically:
Jonathan McDowell, renowned Harvard astrophysicist and space industry enthusiast, said the announcement suggested China had lost control of the station and that it would re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere “naturally.”
If this is the case, it would be impossible to predict where the debris from the space station will land.
“You really can’t steer these things,” he said. “Even a couple of days before it re-enters we probably won’t know better than six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it’s going to come down. Not knowing when it’s going to come down translates as not knowing where its going to come down.”
Most of the station will, like Skylab in the late 1970s disintegrate and melt long before it reaches the ground. But some will reach the ground or sea. Messy.