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Spain to lead return of space station 'Tiangong 1'
30 March 2018 @ 18:56

SPAIN will coordinate the landing of Chinese space station Tiangong 1 on behalf of the European Union on Easter Sunday, according to the Centre for the Development of Technological Industry (CDTI).

The Tiangong 1 has been floating dormant in orbit, unused, since 2016 and Spain's space monitoring centre at the military base in Torrejón de Ardoz (Greater Madrid region) will work with the CDTI on bringing it down.

Although the planned date for the space station to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere is this Sunday, April 1, a margin for error of around 20 hours has been allowed to ensure the operation is as accurate as possible.

According to head of Space and Technology Returns for the CDTI, Jorge Lomba, the Tiangong 1 has been gradually losing height and, until it is only around 120 kilometres up, it is not possible to predict the time and place of its landing to any precise degree.

Torrejón de Ardoz will use data gathered by five radars in Germany, Spain, France and Italy and three laser stations in Spain, Italy and the UK, as well as the two giant telescopes based in Spain and Italy.

China's space programme said a few days ago that the Tiangong 1 would burn up completely once it made contact with the Earth's atmosphere, meaning none of its remains will hit the ground, although the EU calculates that around 60% of it will disintegrate before it enters terrestrial sky, due to the friction caused by the more dense layers of the atmosphere.



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