Defunct Chinese space lab set to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere

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FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2010 file photo, visitors sit beside a model of China’s Tiangong-1 space station at the 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai in southern China’s Guangdong Province. China’s defunct Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere within the next day. The European Space Agency forecast Sunday April 1, 2018 the station will re-enter sometime between Sunday night and early Monday morning GMT. (Kin Cheung, File/Associated Press)

BERLIN — China’s defunct Tiangong 1 space station is hurtling toward Earth and expected to re-enter the atmosphere within the next day.

Most of it should burn up on re-entry, so scientists say it poses only a slight risk to people on the ground.

The European Space Agency on Sunday forecast the station will re-enter sometime between Sunday night and early Monday GMT.

The Aerospace Corp. predicted re-entry seven hours either side of 0200 GMT Monday (10 p.m. Sunday EDT).

Tiangong 1 is expected to come to Earth somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, a range covering most of the U.S., China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America.

Out of range are Russia, Canada and northern Europe.

Only about 10 percent of the 8.5-ton spacecraft will likely survive re-entry.

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