Chinese Spacecraft Crashed back to Earth
A Chinese space station fell to the Earth above the southern Pacific Ocean on April 1, 2018.
China launched Tiangong 1, the country’s first space station, which served as an experimental platform for bigger projects, such as the Tiangong 2 launched in September 2016 and a future permanent Chinese space station. Contact with this space station was cut in 2016, after which it was found orbiting closer to the Earth on its own.
It is unclear if contact was deliberately cut off with the station, or if it was lost due to technical issues. The craft was thus expected to burn as it makes its way into the atmosphere. Authorities warned people not to touch the pieces and report them if found.
It was predicted that only around 10 percent of the spacecraft will survive on re-entry, mainly its heavier components such as its engines. The chances of a person being hit by debris was predicted less than one in a trillion.
While China’s Tiangong-1 space station made its last orbits around the Earth, a skywatcher in Oklahoma has captured one last video of the space lab before the crash. This was the last chance for one to record the scene of the crash, as it was not clear as to where exactly the spacecraft would launch.
Thomas Dorman is a satellite tracker from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who captured the crash, made use of telescopes, binoculars, video and still cameras, a DVD recorder, a computer and other gear to document the crash of the spacecraft back to Earth.
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