Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Uncontrolled Chinese space station will hit Earth within months

Uncontrolled Chinese space station will hit Earth within months

China is aiming to have a permanently manned space station in orbit by 2020.

Tiangong 1, which was launched into space in 2011, is a 8.5-ton, 34-foot-long hunk of metal.

However, in 2016, Chinese officials said that they have lost control of the space station and that pieces as heavy as 100 kg may land on to the surface of the Earth in 2017 or 2018.

The Tiangong 1, which translates to "Heavenly Palace", was the country's first space laboratory but Chinese space officials confirmed previous year that it has lost control of it, The Washington Post reported. "I expect it will come down a few months from now - late 2017 or early 2018".

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According to the Guardian, officials initially predicted the space station would crash between October 2017 and April 2018, but Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said the crash could actually occur earlier in that time frame.

But it's not the first time a spacecraft has uncontrollably descended toward the planet.

In 2013, Tiangong-1 anticipated to be deorbited and will be replaced by larger Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules.

A spokesperson for China's space agency said: "Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling".

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China is famous for its technology, mass production and as a global power, however, one area which is not under its expertise seems to be its space programme. The lab had hosted two three-person crews in its lifespan, including the country's first female astronaut, Liu Yang.

The station has been descending gradually since its service ended.

What we know for sure is that Tiangong-1 is slowly falling from space and that soon it would be dipped into more dense reaches of Earth's atmosphere - which will produce a faster falling. China is also now observing the re-entry process of the Tiangong-1 and guaranteed to give updates through enhancing monitoring and forecasting. As of June 2016, more than 263 spacecraft had crashed at the cemetery since 1971, according to Popular Science.

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