How to Watch the Chinese Space Lab Tiangong-1 Plummet to Earth

Any pieces of Tiangong-1

How to Watch the Chinese Space Lab Tiangong-1 Plummet to Earth

Speculation regarding the crash of China's Tiangong-1 space station has been going on all month, but that will come to an end this week.

Hour by hour, Tiangong-1 - whose name translates to "Heavenly Palace" - gets closer and closer to re-entering Earth's atmosphere, and mostly burning up in the process.

Tiangong-1, a Chinese space station that weighs over 18,000 pounds and is the size of a school bus, will fall somewhere on Earth between March 29 and April 4 in an uncontrolled descent from low-earth orbit.

Michigan's emergency operations center is being activated Thursday in preparation for this weekend's expected crash landing of a Chinese space station. The robotic lab maintained its structural integrity but its orbit decayed at a daily rate of approximately 525 feet (160 meters), according to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

Most spacecraft are targeted to reenter over a large area of the South Pacific ocean, a true spacecraft grave yard, known as Point Nemo, an area of the ocean that is farthest from any land mass.

Scientists now say that the reentry of Tiangong-1 is likely to trigger a spectacular series of fireballs which would be visible even in broad daylight.

That compares with a one-in-1.4 million chance of a person being hit by lightning. The European Space Agency says the module will come down between March 24 and April 19.

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The crash window has been narrowed down to March 30 and April 3, with the most likely date being April 1.

Unfortunately they don't know exactly when it will begin its nosedive.

Launched in September 2011, Tiangong-1, the experimental space station, had a design life of two years. This could be anywhere from 43° north to 43° south latitude - a zone that includes the state of Oklahoma.

What are the chances of being hit by Tiangong 1 debris?

He estimated that about 10 to 40 per cent of the space station would survive re-entry intact and make it to the Earth's surface. Back in 1979 NASA's first space station called Skylab made an out-of-control reentry and burned up in the atmosphere.

In 1997 she was struck on the shoulder by a six-inch piece of metal from a Delta 2 rocket.

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