Chinese space station to crash to earth in 2017

Chinese space station to crash to earth in 2017

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China appears to have confirmed speculation that it has lost control of its 8.5-ton space station, which is expected to come crashing down to Earth in 2017.
Officials speaking at the launch of the Tiangong-2 space lab said the Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace” lab, which launched in 2011, had “comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission”.The lab is currently intact and orbiting at an average height of 370 kilometers, officials said in quotes published by the official Xinhua news agency. It is expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere in late 2017.
Ms Wu said China highly valued the management of space debris “conducting research and tests on space debris mitigation and cleaning”, Xinhua reported.
“Now, China will continue to monitor Tiangong-1 and strengthen early warning for possible collision with objects.”
Ms Wu said China would release a forecast for the space station’s fall to Earth internationally if necessary.
Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said the news suggested China had lost control of the station – and if so, it would be impossible to predict where the debris would land.
“You really can’t steer these things,” he told the Guardian.
“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.”
The news comes as technical problems prompted Russia’s space agency to postpone the launch of its next manned Soyuz spaceship to the International Space Station, which was originally scheduled for September 23.

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