The Chinese Space Station Plunges Through The Earth’s Atmosphere Into The Pacific Ocean


The Chinese Space Station Plunges Through The Earth's Atmosphere Into The Pacific Ocean

Tiangong 1, the Chinese Space Station finally plunged through the Earth’s atmosphere into the Pacific Ocean at exactly 5:16 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, April 1st. The space station was the size of a school bus, and China lost contact with it back in September 2016.

Experts and international space officials said that there was no way to find out exactly where it might strike even as it was coming closer to Earth.

China’s first space station got a lot of attention despite its less impressive effects

One of the reasons for which Tiangong 1 enjoyed such increased interest was the fact that its weight was 19,000 pounds. Its uncontrolled descent also triggered the attention.

The space station’s name means Heavenly Palace and its descent was not as surprising as expected in the end.

It will not crack the Top 10 largest objects to reenter Earth’s atmosphere, and it didn’t light up the sky to create a massive spectacle either.

The reentry of space debris into Earth is not a rare phenomenon

Such events occur dozens or even hundreds of times every year, says Aerospace Corp’s Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies.

In 2017, there were 200 such events, but most of them involved smaller pieces. Over the past few decades, only a small number of such events caused a stir similar to the one of Tiangong’s fall.

The largest re-entries ever recorded were NASA’s 154,000-pound Skyla back in 1979 and the 286,000-pound Russian space station Mir back in 2001 that was captured by CNN.

America’s first orbital space station ended up raining space junk all over Australia, and it descended into pieces.

A Western Australia park service official even fined NASA $400 as a joke.

More recently, a man hiking in Northwest Colorado heard an odd sound and after a few minutes found an unusual object. A 30-inch sphere which was still warn was laying in a crater of a foot deep.

“When I walked up to it, I knew it had come from space,” the man told Colorado Public Radio.

“There was a little crater, and this thing was sitting in there, and I looked down at it and looked up and thought, this thing had fallen from the sky.”

NASA eventually identified the object: a spherical titanium tank from a Russian upper-stage rocket launched back in January 2011.


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