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Old 03-07-2018, 07:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Chinese Station to Crash ~April 1st

Head's up!

The Tiangong-1 Station is expected to re-enter between Mar 29 and Apr 9, 2018, somewhere between 43 N and 43 S latitude. Because the orbit covers this range every 90 minutes as the Earth turns underneath it, and there is about a 25% uncertainty in reentry time, the likely reentry zone won't be known until a few hours before it happens.

The Earth's atmosphere doesn't have an edge where it ends and space starts. It just keeps getting thinner as you go higher. So even hundreds of miles/kilometers up, there are still some air molecules. As satellites run into them, they lose speed, which causes them to lose altitude. For example, the International Space Station does a reboost every few months to maintain altitude.

Tiangong-1
ended service, and the Chinese space agency lost control of it in 2016, and it has been losing altitude ever since. The large area of the solar arrays and the unpredictable direction they face is the main reason we don't know when it will fall. It's about 10 meters long and 8.5 tons mass.



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Old 03-07-2018, 08:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hopefully Sandra Bullock can make it there in time.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Earth's atmosphere doesn't have an edge where it ends and space starts.
The gender of the atmosphere is on a spectrum!

(I once drew a line in the sand. I've been trying to find it for years.)
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Easter is also falling on April 1st. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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...Reentry will take place anywhere between 43N and 43S (e.g. Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, etc.)....
Ah okay should be safe from falling satellites near me then.

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Old 03-09-2018, 08:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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43S to 43N doesn't narrow it down a whole lot o.O

At least it's way smaller than Skylab was.
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Old 03-09-2018, 10:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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43S to 43N doesn't narrow it down a whole lot o.O

At least it's way smaller than Skylab was.
One more reason to move to Canada.
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One more reason to move to Canada.
Except as I recall, Skylab landed in northern Canada....

[Edit] err, nope, Australia, I was about as wrong as you can be, lol
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Except as I recall, Skylab landed in northern Canada....

[Edit] err, nope, Australia, I was about as wrong as you can be, lol
Just outside of Vienna IIRC.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It landed in N Korea and Kim Jong Il caught it with his bare hands. (^_^)
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Anyone interested in seeing where the Chinese station is in real time can go to this page

If you zoom out the orbit map, you can see why it is hard to predict where it will come down. It covers a lot of the world, and the ground track shifts each time it goes around the planet.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Will any of it survive the ordeal, and people can race out and grab souvenirs if they are fast enough?
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Some small amount of it may reach the ground.

Latest prediction is Apr 3 1 week.

Tiangong-1 Reentry | The Aerospace Corporation
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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It landed in N Korea Mar-a-lago and Kim Jong Il (ass)Trump(et) caught it with his bare hands hair. (^_^)

Tweaked it just a bit.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Will any of it survive the ordeal, and people can race out and grab souvenirs if they are fast enough?
Better have a pair of asbestos gloves on hand. That stuff is gonna be hot!
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Old 03-12-2018, 10:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Will any of it survive the ordeal, and people can race out and grab souvenirs if they are fast enough?
Do not go out to grab fallen space debris. They frequently use Hydrazine for a rocket fuel, and it has about the same effect on people as the Ark of the Covenant:




Seriously, read the CDC warning sheet

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Old 03-13-2018, 04:32 AM   #17 (permalink)
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How likely is it that any twisted fragments of debris that were actually on fire could possibly contain an intact hydrazine tank? Seriously, has there been any case of orbital debris reaching Earth with any hypergolic propellants intact?

I guess it's theoretically possible but

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Old 03-13-2018, 07:04 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
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43S to 43N doesn't narrow it down a whole lot o.O

At least it's way smaller than Skylab was.
Yeah, that is a pretty big swath of ground. I suppose they had to say something but you may as well just say 'somewhere under its path'.

Not that it makes a lot of difference. It just says where you can go (maybe depending on time of day and such) to watch it burn up.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:07 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Better have a pair of asbestos gloves on hand. That stuff is gonna be hot!
Unless your name is Trump then go for it!
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:29 PM   #20 (permalink)
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How likely is it that any twisted fragments of debris that were actually on fire could possibly contain an intact hydrazine tank? Seriously, has there been any case of orbital debris reaching Earth with any hypergolic propellants intact?

I guess it's theoretically possible but
A fuel tank from the Shuttle Columbia accident survived re-entry, and contained that kind of volatile fuel. Hydrazine is considered dangerous at 0.05 ppm concentrations. Full HAZMAT suits are recommended. This is what the Air Force uses for their X-37B mini-shuttle, in case any has leaked out or is still in the rocket nozzles:


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Old 03-13-2018, 02:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Discovery? Are you referring to Challenger or Columbia? What fuel tank are you referring to?

AFAIK neither shuttle was traveling at orbital velocity when they broke up, and they were designed for re-entry. Tiangong-1 definitely isn't.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:03 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Discovery? Are you referring to Challenger or Columbia? What fuel tank are you referring to?

AFAIK neither shuttle was traveling at orbital velocity when they broke up, and they were designed for re-entry. Tiangong-1 definitely isn't.
Columbia, the one that started breaking up over California and the debris landed in Texas. Don't know why I wrote Discovery. The Orbital Maneuvering System tanks, which are the small pods at the back of the Orbiter. They use Monomethyl Hydrazine (fuel) and Nitrogen Tetroxide (oxidizer) as their propellant mix.

Columbia's heat shield was damaged during launch, and it began to visibly break up when it was still at 90% of orbital velocity. Superheated air started getting inside the vehicle and causing damage before that, as soon as re-rentry heating began.

Skylab wasn't designed for re-entry either, and enough pieces survived for a fairly large museum exhibit in Australia.



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Old 03-13-2018, 08:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
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That picture is part of Skylab, not the Columbia fuel tank.

Near as I can tell, this is the Columbia tank:



Doesn't seem to be any way of knowing if it was intact when it landed.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:29 PM   #24 (permalink)
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That picture is part of Skylab, not the Columbia fuel tank.
The second photo in my previous post is the Australian Skylab debris exhibit (because that's where the pieces were found). I mentioned it in the last sentence of that post. It was in reference to *your* last sentence that I quoted, about Tiangong not being designed for re-entry. Neither was Skylab, but pieces survived.

My previous post was constructed to answer yours point by point in order. If that's confusing, I apologize.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:17 AM   #25 (permalink)
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At least it's clear who's the software guy and who's the hardware guy.
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