Real-Time Map Lets You Track Out-Of-Control Chinese Space Station Carrying Toxic Chemicals Hurtling Towards Earth

An out-of-control Chinese space station carrying ‘highly toxic’ chemicals could crash into Earth between March 30 and April 6.

The Tiangong-1 spacecraft has been out of control since September 2016. Now, an interactive map from SatView allows you to track its fiery demise in real-time.

There are two maps available; the largest one shows the past path and the predicted path as a series of dots, whilst the smaller inset map shows the space station’s exact location above Earth at any given moment.

According to experts tracking the space station, it has the highest chance of crashing into cities along a narrow strip around latitudes of 43 degrees north and south.

This includes a number of highly populated cities including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto.

At the time of writing, SatView predicts that Tiangong-1 should reenter the atmosphere at 07:37 GMT on the 3rd April over New Zealand.




How does the map work

The Satview map shows several different satellites in orbit, including the Hubble telescope and the International Space Station.

The larger map which shows the dots revealing the satellite’s route is produced by Satview.

The second map is powered by USstratcom (United States Strategic Command) and then overlaid on to Google Maps.

As more information is garnered as to when the reentry will take place, the site updates with the most likely landing spot for the space station.

The website, based in Brazil, collates data from a variety of US government databases.

This includes the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the JPL (Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

Users can track the Tiangong-1 on the site, and by clicking on ‘More Satellites’ can see a variety of categories that list all satellites in their database.

To view the satellites next believed to be reentering the atmosphere, the ‘Near reentry’ option will bring up a table with estimated times of reentry for the next satellites.

Toxic Chemicals

Experts believe most of the Chinese space station will be destroyed upon reentry.

However, there is a chance parts of it containing hazardous hydrazine could plummet into a highly-populated.

Hydrazine is a chemical which is included in rocket fuel that is a colourless, oily liquid or sometimes white crystalline compound with a very highly reactive base.

It is classified as a Group B2, a probable human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


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