Rogue China space craft due for Easter impact

Tiangong-1 reentry window forecast as of 6 March Credit ESA

'It seems they lost communication link to the space station so there is no data link, ' Dr Xiaofeng Wu from Sydney University told ABC.

China's Tiangong-1 space station will likely fall to Earth between Saturday and Monday morning, but the European Space Agency (ESA) says there is a very small risk to people living in its projected re-entry area.

Space debris is fairly common, he said. The space shuttle didn't fly until April 1981, however, which kept that option off the table, according to Wired.

It is now orbiting at an average height of about 216.2 kilometres, but experts are still unclear about the exact location of re-entry.

During its operational lifetime, Tiangong took part in two crewed missions, and an unmanned one.

It was launched by China's National Space Administration (CNSA) in 2011 as a prototype ahead of the Chinese large modular space station, the core module of which is expected to launch next year. It masses about 9.4 tons (8.5 metric tons), compared to Skylab's approximately 100 tons.

Since being decommissioned the altitude of the space station has been steadily decreasing and it now appears the object will de-orbit and smash into Earth over the Easter long weekend.

For those are seeking to know the location where Tiangong-1 would crash, it is very hard to predict it for it is moving at a speed of 27,000 kilometres per hour.

A spacecraft crumbling and burning up on re-entry.

Thankfully the probability of impact is low - only about 0.2 percent.

Astronomers have known the uncontrolled space station is going to crash back into the planet since 2016, but predicting exactly when has been tricky.

To reduce this uncertainty, the prediction of the space station's decaying orbit is being monitored and updated with each pass of the Tiangong-1 over Bologna.

Tiangong-1 is expected to fall somewhere under its orbital inclination (between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitudes), and some pieces of the space station will make it to the surface.

A United Nations agreement means any part of Tiangong-1 remains the property of China.

ESA stated: "Given the uncontrolled nature of this re-entry event, the zone over which fragments might fall stretches over a curved ellipsoid that is thousands of kilometres in length and tens of kilometres wide". In 2016, China announced it had lost contact with Tiangong-1 and could therefore no longer control its direction, making predicting where it will end up hard.

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