A defunct Chinese space station is falling to Earth at 17,400 mph and orbits about every 90 minutes. The 18,000-pound Tiangong-1 which was launched into orbit in 2011 as China’s first space lab is expected to fall between the areas of 43 degrees south and 43 degrees north between March 30 and April 3.
The crash zone cited by researchers include Africa, Southern Europe, the southern part of North America, South Asia, Australia and South America, says the head of the European Space Agency’s debris office, Holger Krag who spoke with the VOA.
He said the debris will fall in parts and it is unlikely that anyone will be injured by its fragments. “To be injured by one of these fragments is extremely unlikely. My estimate is that the probability to be injured by one of these fragments is similar to the probability of being hit by lightning twice in the same year,” Krag added.
Only one person in history was hit by space debris falling to Earth. Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma was struck on the shoulder by a small piece of a rocket’s fuel tank in 1997 while out for a walk. She was not injured.
China’s Tiangong-1 prototype space station is believed to either fall in the ocean or on an open field.