Out of Control Satellite

UPDATE: The latest on the Chinese satellite Tiangong-1 is that it will make reentry to the Earth between 5 pm to 9 pm tonight over the Pacific (as determined by Aerospace). Germany radars detected that it was tumbling towards Earth. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to nail down exactly where it will make reentry at. The latest prediction tracks have it staying away from the United States. But again, this is an out of control satellite, so forecasting it’s reentry has been extremely difficult. It is likely that most of it will burn up in the atmosphere and unlikely that debris will hit the Earth.

Tiangong-1 was spotted over Oklahoma this morning. Check out the video below from Thomas Dorman.

Track it live: Aerospace (Be Sure to Hit Refresh)



At the end of 2015, the Chinese satellite Tiangong-1, made its final altitude adjustment. Since this time it has been falling. The latest forecast (March 7, 2018) has a reentry to Earth around April 3, 2018 +/- 1 week. This forecast is updated weekly. The 18,740 lb satellite is likely to burn up as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. There is a possibility a small amount of debris could reach the ground if it survives reentry. The yellow area on the map below shows the higher probability of debris reaching the ground. All of Iowa is in the yellow band (click on map below to enlarge). The green area shows a lower probability. The blue area is a zero chance since the satellite doesn’t travel over this area.

According to Aerospace.org:
When considering the worst-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.

Let’s hope if any does make it through reentry it falls over open water.



Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Schnack on March 12, 2018