Tiangong 1, China’s defunct and reportedly out-of-control space station, is about to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and on Sunday morning the European Space Agency (ESA) released new tracking information on the falling spacecraft. ESA officials have narrowed the likely window for re-entry to between 8 p.m. EDT Sunday and early Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the Aerospace Corp. is now forecasting a 10:30 p.m. EDT Sunday (0230 GMT Monday) crash, give or take seven hours.
The tumbling spacecraft poses only a slight risk to people and property on the ground, since most of the 8.5-ton vehicle is expected to burn up on re-entry, although space agencies don’t know exactly where that will happen.
Below are some questions and answers about the station, its re-entry and the past and future of China’s ambitious space program.