Chinese Space Station returning to Earth - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Chinese Space Station returning to Earth

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UNITED STATES - What goes up, must come down. And the Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 is headed for Earth  between March 29th and April 4th.

Tiangong was first launched into space in 2011 and hasn't hosted astronauts since 2013. Then, four years later, the Chinese lost contact with the unmanned station. And when they lost contact, they lost the ability to control its landing. 

The 18,000 pound station is roughly the size of a school bus, but it won't be falling all in one place. In fact, experts at Aerospace Corporation said a lot of it will burn up when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. 

The space stations orbit has been decaying for quite some time, meaning that Earth's gravity is drawing it in every time it orbits around our planet. 

Here's the good news for us: the Inland Northwest is safe. At least, if the calculations are correct. According to a report from the aerospace corporation, southern parts of lower Michigan may see some debris.

And the odds of you getting hit by space debris? One in a trillion.

Only one person — Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma — is known to have been hit by space debris falling to Earth. Williams was struck on the shoulder by a small piece of a rocket’s fuel tank in 1997 while out for a walk. She was uninjured.

It might be possible to see streaks across the sky — similar to a meteor shower — at the time of reentry. But that depends, of course, on how close you are to the falling debris as well as the time of day and the amount of cloud cover

You can watch a livestream of Tiangong-1 here: https://www.space.com/40111-watch-chinese-tiangong-1-space-station-demise.html

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