UPDATE: The Chinese space station broke up over the Pacific Sunday night, but the 5 deadlier man-made threats live on. The one Sarah Palin predicted keeps killing some 60 people per day. Details below …
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Original story …
Look out below! Here’s comes Chinese space junk
‘Out of control’ space lab to become celestial fireball Monday: China
(AFP) A defunct space laboratory is set to become a celestial fireball as it re-enters earth’s atmosphere in the next 24 hours, China’s space authority said Sunday, hitting speeds of over 26,000 kilometres an hour [4.48 miles per second] before disintegrating.
The Tiangong-1 is expected to make an uncontrolled earthbound plunge Monday Beijing time, China Manned Space said in a statement, an estimate roughly in line with European Space Agency projections.
The abandoned eight-tonne craft is unlikely to cause any damage when it comes down, but its fiery disintegration will offer a “splendid” show akin to a meteor shower, Chinese authorities said previously.
The re-entry window remains “highly variable” and the debris from the lab could land anywhere between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south — from New Zealand to the American Midwest, the ESA said.
There is “no need for people to worry”, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said earlier on its WeChat social media account.
Such falling spacecraft do “not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth”, it said.
Tiangong-1 — or “Heavenly Palace” — was placed in orbit in September 2011, an important step in China’s efforts towards building its own space station.
The module — which was used to practise complicated manual and automatic docking techniques — was originally intended to be used for just two years, but ended up serving considerably longer.
It had been slated for a controlled re-entry, but ceased functioning in March 2016. Space enthusiasts have been bracing for its fiery return since.
Out of control?
During its brief lifespan, it hosted Chinese astronauts on several occasions as they performed experiments and even taught a class that was broadcast into schools across the country.
Beijing began its manned spaceflight programme in 1990 after buying Russian technology which enabled it to become the third country to send humans into space following the former Soviet Union and the United States.
China sent another lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 as a stepping stone to its goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.
It also plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.
Chinese media has downplayed comments by the ESA and others that the country’s engineers have lost control of the lab, with reports saying that the idea it is “out of control” is an invention of the foreign media.
On Chinese social media, commenters criticised the government’s reluctance to own up to the situation. Displayed with permission from AFP via Repubhub.
MORE OF TODAY’S TOP HEALTH NEWS:
Man Dies After Falling Space Debris Starts Fire In Kazakhstan
(iflscience, June 16, 2017) A man from Kazakhstan has been killed as a result of a fire caused by falling space debris, and another hospitalized, in an extremely rare event.
The former has been named as Yuri Khatyushin, and the latter as Vyacheslav Tyts.
They were part of a clean-up operation for the launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket on Wednesday, June 14.
This had launched the Progress MS-06 cargo spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome towards the International Space Station (ISS).
Following the launch, some falling debris from the rocket appears to have started a fire on the Kazakh steppe when it crashed into the ground, according to the Kazakh Tengrinews website.
Debris from Russian launches is purposefully left to fall onto the ground. The blaze was reported by AFP to have been 15 kilometers (9.5 miles) across.
The two men were employed by Russian rocket company NPO Mashinostroyeniya to clean up the debris from the rocket. But while attempting to extinguish the blaze, their truck was engulfed in flames due to a strong gust of wind.
No deaths caused by falling man-made space debris have ever been reported. Last year, a man in India was claimed to be the first person killed by a meteorite, although that claim was contested. Read the full story at iflscience.com.