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SatTrackCam Leiden (b)log

One month left for Tiangong-1

13 Mar 2018, 12:44 UTC
One month left for Tiangong-1
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

image (c) Alain Figer, used with permissionThe beautiful image above (used with kind permission) was made by Alain Figer and shows the Chinese Space Station TIANGONG-1 over the French Alps on 27 November 2017.Tiangong ("Heavenly Palace") 1 was launched on 29 Sept 2011. It was the first Chinese Space Station and was visited by Taikonauts twice, first by the crew of Shenzou 9 in June 2012 and then by the crew of Shenzou 10 in June 2013: six Taikonauts in total.All eyes are currently on this Chinese Space Station, as it is about to re-enter. Since the station was shutdown in 2016, it has steadily come down, especially so the past year and months. Its orbital altitude has currently descended below 250 km (it currently is ~240 km, with apogee at 251 km and perigee at 229 km on 2018 March 13):click diagram to enlargeclick diagram to enlargeUsing SatAna and SatEvo, and under the assumption that the re-entry will be completely uncontrolled, I currently estimate it to re-enter one month from now, somewhere between April 7 and April 21.The station has an orbital inclination of 42.8 degrees, and hence can come down anywhere between 42.8 N and 42.8 S. The ...

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