Defunct space lab to re-enter earth Monday: China

Tiangong-1 reentry window forecast as of 27 March Credit ESA

Tiangong-1 reentry window forecast as of 27 March Credit ESA

CHINA'S defunct Tiangong 1 space station hurtled toward earth overnight and was expected to re-enter the atmosphere within hours.

In March 2016, Tiangong-1 ceased communication with its mission control center in Beijing, marking the end of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) mission.

The Chinese tabloid Global Times said on Monday worldwide media hype about the re-entry reflected overseas "envy" of China's space industry.

China sent another lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 as a stepping stone to its goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the government had been continually informing the United Nations space agency of the latest information about the Tiangong-1.

A Chinese space station hurtling towards Earth is expected to re-enter the atmosphere between 11pm tonight and 5am tomorrow, a Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist has said.

The ministry said the Tiangong-1 may still fall on Asian and African countries.

The derelict spacecraft has been slowly falling out of its original orbit for several years.

It could strike anywhere in the world from 43 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees south latitude - this includes North Carolina.

Because two-thirds of Earth is covered by oceans and vast land areas are thinly populated, The Aerospace Corporation reasoned that danger to life or property is very low, and any surviving reentry debris will most likely fall into an ocean.

"This is a big thing the size of a school bus".

China's space station re-entry path into earth's atmosphere. That is tiny compared to the International Space Station, for example.

The Tiangong-1, better known as "Heavenly Palace", will crash back to Earth at 16,500 miles per hour and will burn up in the atmosphere itself.

In 2011, NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite was considered to pose a slight risk to the public when it came down to Earth 20 years after its launching. It has been visited by two crewed missions. McDowell has been closely monitoring Tiangong-1's orbit for the past few months, according to Space.com, and he is sure that its reentry into the atmosphere would produce some "fireballs" in the sky.

Its name means "heavenly palace" in Chinese, but the space station has more in common with Icarus than any castle in the clouds, and is set for a fiery demise.

Based on its current trajectory, scientists have said the space station could land anywhere from Australia to the USA with the southern part of Michigans Lower Peninsula included in the strip of the U.S.? from northern California to Pennsylvania? where it might crash down, the report said.

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