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No April Fools' Joke: Chinese Space Station Expected to Crash April 1, Early April 2


Adrift Chinese Space Station Re-Entry Expected Sunday
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China's Tiangong-1 space station that is hurdling toward Earth should re-enter Earth's atmosphere around 8:10 p.m. EDT April 1, give or take 2.5 hours, according to the latest prediction from California-based Aerospace Corp.

Most of the 8.5-ton spacecraft the size of a school bus is expected to burn up on re-entry, posing a slight threat to people on the ground, scientists said.

The re-entry area covers huge parts of the Earth's oceans, so any surviving pieces of the space station are most likely to end up at the bottom of the sea.
Most of the United States, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America are within the range of 43 degrees north and 43 degree south, where the space station is expected to crash. Out of range: Russia, Canada and northern Europe.

Tiangong-1, called "Heavenly Palace," is the largest manmade object to re-enter Earth's atmosphere in a decade. It was first launched in 2011 as a facility for testing docking capabilities with other Chinese spacecraft and to explore the possibilities for building a larger permanent space station by 2023.