Tag Archives: Tiangong-1

China’s Tiangong-1 space station could come crashing down to Earth before the end of March

27250243350_5563fbc72b_oApplied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace. We beive the information below will be of interest to our readers.

It’s now been several months since China admitted that it had completely lost control of its Tiangong-1 space station, explaining that without the ability to adjust its position in orbit the huge manmade object will eventually come falling back down to Earth. In late 2017 the Chinese government offered a very rough forecast of when the satellite could collide with our planet, and now it’s looking more and more like March might be the month when it happens.

According to the latest information from the European Space Agency,the space station is now expected to come tumbling down somewhere between March 24th and April 19th.  ESA says it’s more likely that the object will land somewhere in the northern latitudes, meaning the northern US, parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece, China, much of the Middle East, and a handful of other countries.

The space station, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” will be subjected to the full brunt of friction from Earth’s atmosphere and, thankfully, will be incinerated almost completely before any remaining debris finally lands on the surface. However, it’s still possible that the spacecraft could cause some problems if it lands on hard ground, especially in a populated area.

Some of the material on board the space station is indeed toxic, including chemicals used in rocket fuel, and China has noted that if that material finds its way to the ground it could be hazardous to anyone who stumbles upon it.

That being said, the odds of any debris actually landing near you or, even worse, striking you is incredibly small. Space debris experts put the chances of being struck by space debris at around a million times less likely than winning the lottery.

In any case, the ESA and other space agencies will be keeping a close eye on the space station and will hopefully be able to forecast its fall from the sky with greater accuracy as the day draws near.

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China achieves first space docking manoeuvre

Two of China’s unmanned spacecraft successfully docked for the first time high above the Earth, China today termed it as a major technological breakthrough in its ambitious programme to establish a manned space station by 2020.

The Shenzhou-8 spacecraft which was launched two day ago silently coupled the Tiangong-1 module, sent into space last month more than 343 km above Earth, in a manoeuvre carried live on state television.
The assembly already has orbited Earth six times with onboard instruments working normally, Ms Wu Ping, the spokesperson of the China’s manned space programme said.
The success of the docking procedure makes China the third country in the world, after the United States and Russia, to master the technique, moving the country one step closer to establishing its own space station.
Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 will fly together for about 12 days and then conduct another space docking at an appropriate time, Wu said. After that Shenzhou-8 would return back to home on November 17.  PTI
China plans to send a manned mission next year in which a woman astronaut could take part to attempt similar docking.
The President, Mr Hu Jintao, who is in France for the G-20 summit, sent a congratulatory message on the success of the country’s first-ever space docking.
“Breakthroughs in and acquisition of space docking technologies are vital to the three-phase development strategy of our manned space programme,” Mr Hu said.
For more 10 years, China has made breakthroughs in key technologies and formed a set of design, production and experiment systems for spacecraft space docking, Ms Wu said.
“Acquisition of the space docking technology is vital for China to implement the three-phase development strategy of its manned space programme,” she said.
Space docking is among the fundamental technologies necessary for manned space operations, she said was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
Ms Wu also said the space docking technology would also promote the “sustained development of its manned space cause,” apparently rebutting criticism China is experimenting with technology which former Soviet Union did decades ago.
One of the influential state-run dailies, the Global Times two days ago questioned the relevance of the docking programme saying that the country needed to strike a balance in its spending.
“The docking test between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 (to be accomplished in the next two days) is a brave step. But the former Soviet Union took that step more than 30 years ago. Furthermore, the diameter of China’s carrier rockets and their relevant carrying capacity lag behind America and Russia”, state run Global Times said in its editorial.
“China hasn’t experienced major setbacks in the development of manned spaceflight technology, and China has high expectations for the future of space technology. But China’s space projects are imitating America’s and Russia’s”, it had said.
“In China today, human lives are the priority….. Money is needed elsewhere, and appears to be more urgent than space technology”, it had said.

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