In this March 23, 2018, file photo, a woman wearing a uniform with the logo of an American produce company helps a customer shop for apples a supermarket in Beijing

China slaps tariffs on $3bn of US exports amid Trump trade dispute

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China raised import duties on a $3billion list of US pork, fruit and other products Monday in an escalating tariff dispute with President Donald Trump that companies worry might depress global commerce. The Finance Ministry said it was responding to a US tariff hike on steel and aluminum that took effect March 23.  But a […]

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China's out of control Tiangong 1 space station smashed into Earth at 17,000mph off the coast of Tahiti on Monday morning and mostly disintegrated as it hit the planet's atmosphere 

China’s Tiangong 1 space station smashes to Earth at 17,000mph

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China’s out of control Tiangong 1 space station smashed into Earth at 17,000mph off the coast of Tahiti on Monday morning and mostly disintegrated as it hit the planet’s atmosphere. The demise of the nine-ton space station had been the subject of scientific speculation for months amid fears large chunks of it could come down […]

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The bus-sized space station, weighing 8.5-tons, is predicted to reenter Earth's atmosphere at 3pm BST (10am ET) on April 1, according to the latest estimates. It could crash into a number of highly populated areas, including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul and Rome

China's out-of-control space station to crash to Earth on Sunday

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China’s out-of-control space station carrying toxic chemicals is set to crash to Earth on Easter Sunday.  

In an attempt to reassure the world, the Chinese government says it will ‘promptly be in touch’ if Tiangong-1 looks set to hit a nation.

But any warning may be too late, as China admits it still has no idea where parts of the space station will land.

The bus-sized space station, weighing 8.5-tons, is predicted to reenter Earth’s atmosphere at 3pm BST (10am ET) on April 1, according to the latest estimates.

It could crash into a number of highly populated areas, including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto. 

When the station does eventually enter the atmosphere, it may unleash a ‘series of fireballs’ that could be seen by the naked eye, scientists claim.

The bus-sized space station, weighing 8.5-tons, is predicted to reenter Earth's atmosphere at 3pm BST (10am ET) on April 1, according to the latest estimates. It could crash into a number of highly populated areas, including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul and Rome

The bus-sized space station, weighing 8.5-tons, is predicted to reenter Earth's atmosphere at 3pm BST (10am ET) on April 1, according to the latest estimates. It could crash into a number of highly populated areas, including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul and Rome

The bus-sized space station, weighing 8.5-tons, is predicted to reenter Earth’s atmosphere at 3pm BST (10am ET) on April 1, according to the latest estimates. It could crash into a number of highly populated areas, including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul and Rome

The latest prediction comes from Aerospace engineering, who claims the time for re-entry could be anywhere within 16 hours either side of this.

Others have more conservative estimates. China’s space agency stated that Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere some time between Saturday and Monday. 

The European Space Agency has a smaller window between midday Saturday and early Sunday afternoon GMT time.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the government had been continually informing the U.N. space agency of the latest information about the Tiangong-1.

China had been responsible and transparent, Lu said.

WHICH CITIES LIE IN THE TIANGONG-1 ‘DANGER ZONE’?
Name of city Country Name of city Country
Barcelona Spain Milwaukee USA
Beijing China Monaco Monaco
Bilbao Spain Naples Italy
Boise USA New York USA
Boston USA Nice France
Boulder USA Philadelphia USA
Buffalo USA Pittsburgh USA
Cannes France Punta Arenas Chile
Chicago USA Rochester USA
Christchurch New Zealand Rome Italy
Cleveland USA Salt Lake City Spain
Concord USA San Sebastian Spain
Des Moines USA Sapporo Japan
Detroit USA Sioux Falls USA
Florence Italy Sochi Russia
Istanbul Turkey Stanley Falkland Islands
Kushiro Japan Toronto Canada
Madrid Spain Trelew  Argentina 
Marseilles France Valladolid Spain

‘If there is a need, we will promptly be in touch with the relevant country,’ he said.

‘As to what I have heard, at present the chances of large fragments falling to the ground are not very great, the probability is extremely small.’

There is ‘no need for people to worry’, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said on its WeChat social media account.

Such falling spacecraft do ‘not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth’, it said.

Commissioned by the ESA, Fraunhofer researchers are studying the speed of the satellite and its rotation

Commissioned by the ESA, Fraunhofer researchers are studying the speed of the satellite and its rotation

The tracking and imaging radar system uses signals in the Ku-band (12 to 18 gigahertz) and I-band (100 – 150 megahertz) radio frequencies to follow Tiangong-1

The tracking and imaging radar system uses signals in the Ku-band (12 to 18 gigahertz) and I-band (100 – 150 megahertz) radio frequencies to follow Tiangong-1

At the Fraunhofer Institute, scientists can track Tiangong-1 using radar (pictured). Radar allows the institute to watch the station regardless of the weather, or if it is day or night

Due to its gentle descent, Tiangong-1 is now experiencing significant drag as it brushes against the planet’s denser outer atmosphere and it is dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day. 

During the uncontrolled re-entry, atmospheric drag will rip away solar arrays, antennas and other external components at an altitude of around 100 kilometres (60 miles), according to the Chinese space office.

The intensifying heat and friction will cause the main structure to burn or blow up, and it should disintegrate at an altitude of around 50 miles (80km), it said.

Most fragments will dissipate in the air and a small amount of debris will fall relatively slowly before landing, most likely in the ocean, which covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, estimates that the Tiangong-1 is the 50th most massive uncontrolled re-entry of an object since 1957.

‘Much bigger things have come down with no casualties,’ McDowell told AFP.

‘This thing is like a small plane crash,’ he said, adding that the trail of debris will scatter pieces several hundred kilometres apart.

During the uncontrolled re-entry, atmospheric drag will rip away solar arrays, antennas and other external components at an altitude of around 100 kilometres (60 miles), according to the Chinese space office

During the uncontrolled re-entry, atmospheric drag will rip away solar arrays, antennas and other external components at an altitude of around 100 kilometres (60 miles), according to the Chinese space office

During the uncontrolled re-entry, atmospheric drag will rip away solar arrays, antennas and other external components at an altitude of around 100 kilometres (60 miles), according to the Chinese space office

This image of the Chinese Space Station was taken over a two second exposure and from the Virtual Telescope Project live feed. The space station was travelling at 18 degrees a second across the sky 

This image of the Chinese Space Station was taken over a two second exposure and from the Virtual Telescope Project live feed. The space station was travelling at 18 degrees a second across the sky 

This image of the Chinese Space Station was taken over a two second exposure and from the Virtual Telescope Project live feed. The space station was travelling at 18 degrees a second across the sky 

At an altitude of around 40 miles (70km), debris will begin to turn into ‘a series of fireballs’, which is when people on the ground will ‘see a spectacular show’, he said. 

The dramatic reentry will be unmissable, but keen astronomers are keeping their eyes peeled for Tiangong-1 throughout its final days.

Earlier this week, a live stream was set up by Virtual Telescope Project to capture Tiangong in one of its final passes across the sky.

At an altitude of around 40 miles (70km), debris will begin to turn into 'a series of fireballs

At an altitude of around 40 miles (70km), debris will begin to turn into 'a series of fireballs

At an altitude of around 40 miles (70km), debris will begin to turn into ‘a series of fireballs’

It is visible to the naked eye and can be seen by people living in mid-latitude areas in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

Like many satellites and the ISS, Tiangong-1 looks like an unblinking white light gliding swiftly across the sky.  

Predicting when and where the rogue station will reach the surface is extremely difficult as it orbits the Earth at around 18,000 mph (29,000km/h).

To track the satellite, experts are using some of the most advanced and powerful telescopes in the world. 

At the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques, scientists were recently able to capture images of the craft using radar imaging.

Commissioned by the ESA, Fraunhofer researchers are studying the speed of the satellite and its rotation. 

The tracking and imaging radar system uses signals in the Ku-band (12 to 18 gigahertz) and I-band (100 – 150 megahertz) radio frequencies to follow Tiangong-1.

Radar allows the institute to watch the station regardless of the weather, or if it is day or night. 

Fall of Chinese space station Tiangong-1 over time and potential landing spots and times. The odds of being struck by space debris at one in 1.2 trillion. That is roughly 10 million times less likely than getting hit by lightning

Fall of Chinese space station Tiangong-1 over time and potential landing spots and times. The odds of being struck by space debris at one in 1.2 trillion. That is roughly 10 million times less likely than getting hit by lightning

Fall of Chinese space station Tiangong-1 over time and potential landing spots and times. The odds of being struck by space debris at one in 1.2 trillion. That is roughly 10 million times less likely than getting hit by lightning

In a statement, Esa aid: ‘The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up.

‘It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth’s surface.’  

As stated by experts tracking the station at the European Space Agency (ESA), it has the highest chance of crashing along a narrow strip around latitudes of 43 degrees north and south.

This includes a number of highly populated cities including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto.

There is a chance parts of the station containing hazardous hydrazine could plummet into these highly-populated area.

Hydrazine is a chemical which is included in rocket fuel that causes irritation of the eyes and throat, dizziness and can lead to the growth of cancerous tumours. 

The chances of human injury are small, claims Stijn Lemmens, an ESA space debris expert based in Darmstadt, Germany.

‘Over the past 60 years of space flight, we are nearing the mark of 6,000 uncontrolled reentries of large objects, mostly satellites and upper (rocket) stages,’ he told AFP. 

‘Only one event actually produced a fragment which hit a person, and it did not result in injury.’

Mr Lemmens says the odds of being struck by space debris are at one in 1.2 trillion.

Scientists will only know the precise date Tiangong-1 will impact and exactly where debris will fall during the finals days of its decline. Pictured is a graph showing how the window of predicted impact dates (y-axis) has changed over time (x-axis)

That is roughly 10 million times less likely than getting hit by lightning.

Although nobody has ever died from being hit by space junk falling back to Earth, one Australian region did fine Nasa $400 for littering when its Skylab crashed around the town of Esperence in 1974. 

‘At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible,’ the agency’s Space Debris Office, based in Darmstadt, Germany, said in a previous statement.

WHAT IS THE TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION?

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

Tiangong-1 is China’s first Space Station Module.

The vehicle was the nation’s first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station as a permanent human presence in Low Earth Orbit.

The module was launched on September 29, 2012.

Tiangong-1 features flight-proven components of Chinese Shenzhou Spacecraft as well as new technology.

The module consists of three sections: the aft service module, a transition section and the habitable orbital module.

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres.

It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume. 

The Tiangong-1 space station (artist's impression) is hurtling towards Earth carrying a 'highly toxic chemical'. The doomed 8.5-tonne craft is believed to contain dangerous hydrazine

The Tiangong-1 space station (artist's impression) is hurtling towards Earth carrying a 'highly toxic chemical'. The doomed 8.5-tonne craft is believed to contain dangerous hydrazine

The Tiangong-1 space station (artist’s impression) is hurtling towards Earth carrying a ‘highly toxic chemical’. The doomed 8.5-tonne craft is believed to contain dangerous hydrazine

The doomed 8.5-tonne craft, which is roughly the size of a bus, has been hurtling towards Earth since Chinese scientists lost control of it in 2016

The doomed 8.5-tonne craft, which is roughly the size of a bus, has been hurtling towards Earth since Chinese scientists lost control of it in 2016

The doomed 8.5-tonne craft, which is roughly the size of a bus, has been hurtling towards Earth since Chinese scientists lost control of it in 2016

The doomed 8.5-tonne craft has been hurtling towards Earth since Chinese scientists lost control of it in 2016.  

Although far smaller than some other satellites (the ISS is 450 tons (408,000 kg) for example) it is still the size of a school bus. 

WHAT IS THE ‘HIGHLY TOXIC’ CHEMICAL ONBOARD CHINA’S TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION?

A ‘highly-toxic’ corrosive chemical could land on Earth when parts of an out-of-control Chinese space station crash into our planet.

The chemical, called hydrazine, is used in rocket fuel and long-term exposure is believed to cause cancer in humans.

It is being carried aboard the Tiangong-1 space station which is hurtling towards Earth. 

The warning over exposure to the chemical came from Aerospace Corp, a non-profit corporation based in El Segundo, California, which provides technical guidance and advice on all aspects of space missions.

Hydrazine is a colourless, oily liquid or sometimes white crystalline compound with a very highly reactive base.

A 'highly-toxic' corrosive chemical could be spread over the planet when a Chinese space station crashes to Earth, experts have warned. The substance, called hydrazine, is used in rocket fuel and is believed to cause cancer in humans (stock image)

A 'highly-toxic' corrosive chemical could be spread over the planet when a Chinese space station crashes to Earth, experts have warned. The substance, called hydrazine, is used in rocket fuel and is believed to cause cancer in humans (stock image)

A ‘highly-toxic’ corrosive chemical could be spread over the planet when a Chinese space station crashes to Earth, experts have warned. The substance, called hydrazine, is used in rocket fuel and is believed to cause cancer in humans (stock image)

It has a number of industrial, agricultural and military uses, including in rocket fuel.

Symptoms of short-term exposure to high levels of hydrazine include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, and coma, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Long-term exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system in humans.

The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals.

Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumours have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine.

The EPA has classified hydrazine as a Group B2, a probable human carcinogen.

The last time people set foot on the space station was in 2013.

After completing its final life phase, the space craft became unresponsive. 

The descent is difficult to predict as the conditions in space are widely unknown and unpredictable.

The orbit pattern of Tiangong-1 is also making predictions more complex. 

Explaining why, Dr Hugh Lewis, senior lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southampton, compared the geometrical processes at work to crossing the road.

The last time people set foot on the space station was in 2013. After completing its final life phase, the space craft became unresponsive

The last time people set foot on the space station was in 2013. After completing its final life phase, the space craft became unresponsive

The last time people set foot on the space station was in 2013. After completing its final life phase, the space craft became unresponsive

Tiangong-1 is China's first Space Station Module. The vehicle was the nation's first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station and it is set to die a fiery death as it reenters the atmosphere 

Tiangong-1 is China's first Space Station Module. The vehicle was the nation's first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station and it is set to die a fiery death as it reenters the atmosphere 

Tiangong-1 is China’s first Space Station Module. The vehicle was the nation’s first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station and it is set to die a fiery death as it reenters the atmosphere 

Speaking to MailOnline, he said: ‘The spacecraft is travelling around a more or less circular orbit, which is tipped with respect to the equator at 43°.

‘If you plot this path on a map of the Earth, it produces a sine wave pattern, with the slower curve of the wave in northern and southern latitudes and the faster straighter sections running from east to west. 

‘If you imagine the green low risk area on the map is the part of the road we’re trying to walk across, the quickest way is to go at 90 degrees – straight across.

The descent of the space craft is difficult to predict as the conditions in space are widely unknown and unpredictable. The orbit pattern of Tiangong-1 is also making predictions more complex and leads to 'highly variable' predictions

The descent of the space craft is difficult to predict as the conditions in space are widely unknown and unpredictable. The orbit pattern of Tiangong-1 is also making predictions more complex and leads to 'highly variable' predictions

The descent of the space craft is difficult to predict as the conditions in space are widely unknown and unpredictable. The orbit pattern of Tiangong-1 is also making predictions more complex and leads to ‘highly variable’ predictions

‘When the spacecraft crosses the equator, it’s crossing the road at this point, and it does so really fast.

‘When it goes across the red bands further north and south, it’s crossing at a steeper angle – almost parallel to the road. 

‘It takes longer to cross at these latitudes, which is why it has a higher risk of coming down here.’ 

Predictions of Tiangong-1’s most likely point of impact come from Aerospace, a US research organisation based in El Segundo, California, that advises government and private enterprise on space flight.

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a liftoff mass of 8,506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurised volume

Tiangong-1 is experiencing drag as it brushes against the planet's denser outer atmosphere and it is dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day. When Tiangong-1, Chinese for Heavenly Place, reaches an altitude of about 43 miles above the surface, it will begin its re-entry

Tiangong-1 is experiencing drag as it brushes against the planet's denser outer atmosphere and it is dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day. When Tiangong-1, Chinese for Heavenly Place, reaches an altitude of about 43 miles above the surface, it will begin its re-entry

Tiangong-1 is experiencing drag as it brushes against the planet’s denser outer atmosphere and it is dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day. When Tiangong-1, Chinese for Heavenly Place, reaches an altitude of about 43 miles above the surface, it will begin its re-entry

Estimates from Aerospace say the space station will enter the Earth’s atmosphere on April 1, give or take a few days, and debris will fall no further north than 42.7° N latitude or south of 42.7° S latitude.  

An interactive map from SatView allows you to track the space stations’s descent in real-time.

There are two maps available; the largest one shows the past path and the predicted path as a series of dots, whilst the smaller inset map shows the space station’s exact location above Earth at any given moment.  

The Satview map shows several different satellites in orbit, including the Hubble telescope and the International Space Station.

 

Tracking website SatView allows users to follow the exact movements of a range of different satellites, the Chinese Tiangong-1 is one of them. It shows a predicted time of reentry to the atmosphere as well as information on where it has been and where it is going 

The larger map which shows the dots revealing the satellite’s route is produced by Satview. 

The second map is powered by USstratcom (United States Strategic Command) and then overlaid on to Google Maps. 

As more information is garnered as to when the reentry will take place, the site updates with the most likely landing spot for the space station. 

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