In less than about 10 hours from now,  China’s bus-sized space station will be falling from space and crashing to the earth amidst clouds of smoke and burning metal.  But how much do you know about this object that could hit your roof (or fall on you)  anytime soon?

Artist impression of what the Tiangong-1 will look like as it spirals. Friction with the earth’s atmosphere will cause it disintegrate and burn up as it loses altitude.

The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is a China’s first space station,  launched in September,  2011 aboard an unmanned spacecraft.  It served the dual purpose of a space laboratory and to also experiment with docking and spacecraft rendevouz,  until China lost contact with it in 2016.

The Tiangong-1 weighs about 8,506kg,  orbits the earth 16 times a day and requires about 88 minutes to go round the earth once. It has a diameter of about 11 feet and is as long as 34 feet.

So far,  as of today,  the space station has spent 6 years,  184 days in space(as of 1, April,  2018). It has gone round the earth a total of 37398 times as of today.

Right now,  the space station is orbiting the earth at an altitude of 100km which means it has had contact  with the earth’s atmosphere for some hours.  Its speed will  continue to reduce until it spirals out of control and falls completely from the sky.

Tiangong-1 means “Heavenly Palace-1”.


Map showing the possible crash location. Notice it is somwhere over the Atlantic ocean.

the bulk of the space station will likely disintegrate/explode and burn up long before it hits the ground.  So you will like find shards of burnt material,  and as a result the impact as it the pieces hit the ground wouldn’t be much. All the same,  the chances that rather than hit the ground,  obeying the rules of Hollywood and comics,  they could just sink into the ocean and cool off are high.

As at march 1, 2018, it was predicted that the space station will end up somewhere  in the sea or an ocean,  but right now there is so much uncertainty surrounding the exact location where the thing could hit.

However,  it has been confirmed that it could be crazy somewhere  around latitudes 42.7°N and 42.7°S,  but the exact longitude is unknown.  South America,  most parts of Asia,  Australia,  North America,  Europe  have been excluded from the list of possible locations.

Again,  before the space station reaches the earth,  not less that 80% of its whole structure would have b ripped apart.  The rest will land without much impact,  and despite the number of people scattered below it,  the chances that it would land in any area populated by humans are insignificant.  So, don’t worry… It won’t land on your head. You will have better chances winning a power jackpot than getting hit.

Have a great night!  👍

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Ebube Emeka

Ebube Emeka is a programmer, web developer and tech freak. He's a top writer at KONGONUT where he reviews products and brands.

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