Falling Chinese satellite expected to re-enter atmosphere Sunday

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Tiangong-1 orbited at an average altitude of 167.6 kilometers on Sunday.

An artist's illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space lab in Earth orbit. Eastern, plus or minus nine hours. Use the link here.

"You might even see a smoke trail". But exactly when and where the station will fall remains unknown. The station's worldwide designation is 2011-053A and its NORAD number is 37820.

So where will the Chinese space station debris come down? "The reentry of Tiangong-1 brings some awareness to this long ignored problem of space debris". China is also providing daily updates. Every time you think you've got all of the guesses right, you are wrong.

The technical director of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia, Markus Dolensky, meanwhile said that witnesses who would see the descent of the Tiangong-1 could see "series of fireballs" streaking across the sky if there were no clouds present.

It's hard to predict exactly when Tiangong-1 will re-enter Earth's atmosphere, and where it will break up into pieces before it lands.

China sent another space lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016. Although the incident has been embarrassing for the China's space program, it hasn't delayed its progress. The station is about the size of a bus.

Chances of the Tiangong-1 hitting someone on Earth is microscopic.

"It could have been better obviously, if it wasn't tumbling, but it landed in the Southern Pacific Ocean and that's kind of where you hope it would land", Tucker said.

It received its first visit from an unmanned spacecraft, the Shenzhou 8, in November 2011 and was docked by the manned Shenzou 9 in June 2012. The lab completed its main missions in June, 2013. The delay was announced by the ESA which monitoring the station's movement.

The out-of-control Chinese space station that is set to crash into earth over the Easter weekend will put on a "splendid show" like a meteor shower, according to experts.

Seven other space stations have reentered, all launched by the Soviet Union.

"In 60 years of space exploration, only one person - an American woman named Lottie Williams - is known to have been struck by falling space junk, says Ailor, 'and it was just like a piece of fabric material that kind of brushed her on the shoulder'". That might help keep things a little in perspective. But some pieces likely will survive.

The many uncertainties involved mean definitive statements can only be made very close to the end of Tiangong's flight.

The space station is expected to fall somewhere between the latitudes of 42.7 degrees north and 42.7 degrees south, a range that empresses the border of South Dakota and Nebraska in the north and Tasmania in the south.

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