Sometime next year between January and March, an 8.5 tonne unmanned space station, will make an “uncontrolled re-entry” to Earth.
China’s first prototype space station, Tiangong-1, is expected to re-enter the atmosphere early next year, as its operational life comes to an end.
Most of the craft should burn up in the atmosphere, but parts of the debris could land on Earth.
The European Space Agency (ESA) predicts that fragments could fall over any spot within 43ºN and 43ºS, latitudes. This area sits major Asian cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore and New Delhi.
That’s correct, parts of a 12m long, 3.3m diameter spacecraft with a launch mass of 8,506kg may land on our sunny little island. Owing to the space station’s mass and construction material, there is a possibility that some portions of it will survive and reach the surface of this planet.
However, the precise date, time and geographic footprint of reentry can only be predicted with large uncertainty.
There will be no cause for worry. The ESA assure that in the history of spaceflight, there have been no confirmed casualties caused by falling space debris.