Chinese space station expected to fall to earth in coming days; could land in WI

The 8.5-ton, 40-foot Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," was launched in September 2011. Along with its successor -- the Tiangong-2, which launched in 2016 -- it was a prototype for China's ultimate space goal: a permanent, 20-ton space station that is expected to launch around 2022.

A now defunct 8.5 ton, 40-foot Chinese space station is expected to fall to earth in the coming days. It is the Tiangong-1 — and has been unmanned since 2013.

In its United Nations submission anticipating the spacecraft’s fall to Earth, China said “most parts of Tiangong will be burned and destroyed in the process of reentering the atmosphere.”

Experts say they know roughly the latitude at which the craft will land, putting places like Canada and the United Kingdom in the clear. But most of the lower 48 states, including Wisconsin, are in the re-entry area.

Experts say they know roughly the latitude at which the craft will land, putting places like Canada and the United Kingdom in the clear.

Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011. Along with its successor — the Tiangong-2, which launched in 2016 — it was a prototype for China’s ultimate space goal: a permanent space station. The completed 60-ton station is set to come into full service in 2022 and operate for at least a decade.