WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Tiangong-1, China’s first prototype for a space station, is expected to crash into Earth at some point between March 30 and April 6.
The station has already been replaced by Tiangong-2, but Popular Mechanics is reporting China has lost control of their first station. The station is currently lowering into orbit and scientists have been able to predict when it is crashing because of better data that transmits as the station gets closer to Earth.
The Daily Star is reporting the station contains a dangerous hydrazine – a colorless liquid that is used in rocket fuels. If humans or animals make contact with the liquid, it could cause dermatitis – an itchy inflammation of the skin.
Scientists don’t expect to know the exact date and where the station will hit until it continues to descending and gets closer.
“If you plot this path on a map of the Earth, it produces a sine wave pattern, with the slower curve of the wave in northern and southern latitudes and the faster straighter sections running from east to west,” Dr Hugh Lewis, senior lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southampton told The Daily Mail. “When the spacecraft crosses the equator, it’s crossing the road at this point, and it does so really fast.”
Aerospace, a research organization that advises governments on space, predicts the station could hit a variety of cities in the United States including Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Des Moines, Milwaukee and Salt Lake City among others.
When the spaceship hits, a fireball is expected in the sky. Pieces of the actual station are unlikely to hit earth because they are likely to burn in the atmosphere. The space station weighs 8.5 tons.
The Guardian reports the spaceship was part of a “scientific push” that would help China become a space superpower.