back to article Doomed Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 crashes into watery Pacific grave

China's first space station flamed out in the atmosphere and any remaining fragments have now been consigned to a watery grave in the South Pacific. The Tiangong-1, which translates to Heavenly Palace, has been tumbling out of control in low-Earth orbit for over a year after an unspecified fault crippled it in 2016. US …

not bad, all things considered

If it came down anywhere near Point Nemo, that's probably about as good an outcome as one could hope for, is it not?

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Re: not bad, all things considered

'about as good an outcome as one could hope for, is it not?"

Depends on your point of view I suppose.

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Re: not bad, all things considered

Nope, I think it is generally a waste that nobody saw the pretty fireworks.

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Trollface

Okay, I'll bite...

As it came down near Point Nemo I say they still had some control...

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Re: Okay, I'll bite...

They had zero control. To target requires a re-entry burn, or at least attitude control combined with accurate drag models.

It does make statistical sense that it landed near there. There is a lot of water on the planet, and the most water is where there is the least land.

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Re: Control? No Control?

That people believe it randomly fell in the exact spot it would if they had control, or that it was just luck they had it on the right path for it to fall in the exact spot shows how susceptible we are to propaganda.

My first reaction was wow the Chinese were really lucky that it was on the exact path needed to land safely when they lost control of it so many years ago. Then I thought of some of the adjustments other space craft needed to hit that spot and realize that it is far more likely that the Chinese never lost total control or did so much later than reported.

Which brings into question all the sources of "news" I believed, and because those were the first stories I read about it still do tend to believe.

Note: Always remember that these posts are moderated, this is not an open discussion of the issue.

.

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Re: Okay, I'll bite...

It depends on your definition of near. From what I can make out it came down some thousands of miles away from point Nemo.

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Re: Control? No Control?

How 'spot on' was this anyway? All I could find was that the station crashed "a few thousand miles" north of Point Nemo. Back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me that it had a probability of about 10% hitting a 2000-mile wide zone in the Earth strip from 43 North to 43 South that was already established as the crash zone. 10% is hardly a miracle. This goes to 60% if you consider a 5000-mile wide area.

And what kind of double game would the Chinese be playing? We still have control but we won't admit it, and we'll crash the station almost, but not quite entirely, in the area where one would expect a controlled re-entry?

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Re: Control? No Control?

Note: Always remember that these posts are moderated, this is not an open discussion of the issue.

If the moderators' IP address isn't behind the Great Firewall of China, then you don't have to worry about moderation hindering presentation of the pertinent points about this discussion. Such as:

1) Tiangong 1 came down significantly closer to American Samoa than Point Nemo. This is not consistent with the behavior of a controlled disposal at Point Nemo.

2) The CNSA and China in general would be crowing about the safe disposal of Tiangong 1, which would grant them some technical and diplomatic brownie points.

3) Amateur satellite watchers would have noted the controlled attitude and radio transmissions from Tiangong 1, instead of its silence and drifting attitude. The loss of control of the station was first confirmed by amateur astronomers in 2016, not China, who was only muttering about loss of telemetry.

As far as conspiracy theories go, "China had secret control over Tiangong 1 and used it to do nothing, not even transmit basic telemetry, for 2 years until guiding the station into missing a satellite graveyard by 2000 miles," needs a little polish.

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Boffin

Re: @JimC

>From what I can make out it came down some thousands of miles away from point Nemo.

FTA: "Point Nemo is used for dumping because it's the furthest point on the planet from land, with the nearest shoreline 2,415km (1,501 miles) away. "

"Some thousands of miles" away would mean it landed on... land.

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Re: @FungusBob

No, it can still arrive 5000 km away from PN and fall into the water. The nearest coastline being 2400 km away doesn't mean that every point at that distance is a landmass.

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Re: @FungusBob

Well, you're no fun!

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Happy

So glad to see

the Tiangong-1 is not littering Point Nemo near the Knappschaftkrankenhaus in Dortmund, Germany.

Those still interested in rocket science might read ESA's FAQ on Tiangong-1 reentry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So glad to see

I'm a heart surgeon. As for visiting rocket science websites, I very much think not.

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Re: So glad to see

@AC

I'm a heart surgeon. As for visiting rocket science websites, I very much think not.

"Okay, so you're a rocket scientist heart surgeon

That don't impress me much".

With thanks to Shania Twain

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Re: So glad to see

I'm a rocket surgeon, and I do brain science in my spare time...

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Re: So glad to see

I like bright, shiny objects.

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re. The radar picture

Does that picture represent the best capabilities of the JFSCC radar system or have they degraded it for security reasons? (I'm not expecting a reply from any JFSCC staff.)

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Re: re. The radar picture

The picture is from the German Fraunhofer institute.

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Anonymous Coward

My early condolences to the Pacific Ocean

"A new, much larger space station in planned to begin construction by 2022..."

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Pint

Fraunhofer Institute's picture

Based on comments I've seen on various forums, there's a fraction of the population* that believe that the image is orange and red because they captured this image when the station was glowing red hit as it entered the atmosphere.

I'll assume that the Fraunhofer Institute didn't select this colour pallet as a cynical ploy.

* They walk amongst us, on their hind legs.

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Re: Fraunhofer Institute's picture

At least they believe that it was actually in space in the first place, there seems to be increasing numbers of people who don't believe in spaceflight, or even a round* Earth.

('round' being a conversational approximation of 'oblate spheroid')

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Facepalm

More trash for the ocean

At least we have Planet B......

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Re: More trash for the ocean

An insignificant amount compared with the average westener's plastic deposits in the same pond.

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Re: More trash for the ocean

Which itself is insignificant by any sensible measure....

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Trollface

Re: More trash for the ocean

True enough.

However I try and limit my disposal of hydrazine and radioactive isotopes in the council waste.

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Black Helicopters

Re: More trash for the ocean

I know, I took a spent uranium fuel rod to the local tip, but they said they don't handle that sort of thing. It's ridiculous, I wrote to my local MP about it.

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Pint

Re: More trash for the ocean

Tom 7 combines a deep concern with his failing to keep up with the news on the same topic, "...the average westener's plastic deposits in [the Pacific]..."

It was all over the news a few months ago.

90% (or 95%) of waste plastic getting into the ocean is from just TEN RIVERS. The Thames and the St Lawrence failed to make the list. "Western" rivers in general didn't make the list. It's from areas of huge populations that massively litter.

Campaigning EcoMentals that fail to be aware of the basic facts, and then implying a need for misdirected and ineffective corrective action, are now a serious menace to the planet.

Addressing the larger "80%" (80/20 Rule) of the issue would be simple and cheap. But only if the rampaging Enviromentals learn the facts and focus on effective solutions.

Geezuz H. They (the empty-headed Eco Warriers) need to hire a manager!!

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Mushroom

Re: More trash for the ocean

You've got to arrange a collection pick up for it round here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More trash for the ocean

"spent uranium fuel rods"

Yeah that plus old paint tins and mattresses!

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Re: More trash for the ocean

I know, I took a spent uranium fuel rod to the local tip, but they said they don't handle that sort of thing. It's ridiculous, I wrote to my local MP about it.

Ridiculous is the look on management's faces when you tell them that FedEx lost your radioactive waste shipment on the way to the disposal site. But that's getting a bit off topic from Tiangong 1's final disposal.

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Unsuitable Reg section

I note this is in "Emergent Technology". Seems wrong on so many levels...

Submergent Technology?

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Coat

"confirmed reentry on April 1"

http://earthsky.org/space/china-tiangong-1-uncontrolled-re-entry-mar-apr-2018

Only for folks west of Greenwich. For the rest of us, and the Chinese owners, it was April 2nd.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "confirmed reentry on April 1"

So it was 1st April in Richmond while 2nd April in Dartford ?

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Re: "confirmed reentry on April 1"

I believe it's still 1955 in Dartford...

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the missed opportunity!

time for an Asylum Pictures "homage" to The Andromeda Strain!

some "found footage" washes up on shore, shows "what really happened" and why the Chinese deliberately brought the station down...

..and what survived the crash!

Feel free to donate any royalty checks in my name to any future LOHAN project reboot :)

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