China’s first space station Tiangong-1, originally launched in 2011, is expected to crash back down to Earth within the next few weeks. Aerospace Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) have estimated the 9-metric-ton craft’s descent to be between the end of March to the middle of April.
Late 2016 the Chinese Space Administration announced it had lost control of the spacecraft and its orbit has been steadily degrading ever since. The sizable craft capable of supporting crew is now considered as aging asset, and as such, will be replaced by another version in 2025.
While it is expected to burn upon entering the atmosphere experts are concerned that such a densely constructed craft still might pose a risk. It is estimated that between 10 and 40 per cent of the vehicle will make it back – that is still 2 to 4 tonnes of mass.
The US Space Surveillance Network has been constantly tracking the object, as well as all other orbiting satellites, and has their best guess to its final resting place to be somewhere around 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude. This region is mainly covered by ocean and seas, it would still make a fly by over northern China, Middle East, Northern US, New Zealand and parts of southern Africa.