Out of Control Russian Spacecraft About to Crash on Earth Within 24 Hours
According to European Space Agency officials, a Russian spacecraft that broke down while heading to The International Space Station, is about to crash on Earth in the next 24 hours. The estimated timeline suggests its arrival back to Earth on mid-day Friday.
Thankfully, the spacecraft which has been tumbling around the planet at 17,000mph since Tuesday is unmanned. All hopes of saving the spacecraft are lost as it is expected to enter our atmosphere late Thursday night. The researchers tracking the doomed spacecraft believe that around 20-40 percent of its structure will survive the heat during re-entry.
The most likely part to survive the intense heat is its capsule’s docking mechanism, which stands at 200 kg and is made of metal molded into the shape of a ring. At launch, the capsule weighed around 73,000 kg, including over a tonne of fuel and 2.5 tonnes of cargo.
The orbit of the spacecraft puts it 51.6 degrees north to 51.6 degrees south, meaning Edgware in London is among the most at risk regions.
So is anyone in danger of being hit by the falling debris?
Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s space debris office in Darmstadt doesn’t seem to be concerned:
It doesn’t all come down in one piece. Most of the destruction happens between 80km and 70km high, and a very limited number of components have the potential to survive. These are scattered over a huge distance, up to 1000km, so you might find a single piece every 100km or so.
Even if chances of someone being hurt by the debris are remote, this shouldn’t taken lightly. Once the spacecraft crahses, we may have a clear understanding of what exactly caused it to malfunction.