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  • China's first space station may crash to Earth as soon as Thursday

    Source: Business Insider

    China's first space station, called Tiangong-1 or "Heavenly Palace," will soon break up over Earth into a fiery rain of space junk.

    The Aerospace Corp., a nonprofit spaceflight research company, has released its newest prediction about the derelict spacecraft's doom. Tiangong-1 may reenter Earth's atmosphere on April 1, give or take three days — which means the dead spacecraft could come crashing down as soon as Thursday, March 29.

    When it does, extreme heat and pressure caused by plowing through the air at more than 15,000 mph will destroy the roughly 9.4-ton vessel. Not everything may vanish, though.

    There's a good chance that gear and hardware left on board could survive intact all the way to the ground, according to Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer who specializes in atmospheric reentry. That durability is thanks to Tiangong-1's onion-like layers of protective material.

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