Watch a Chinese space station fall to earth

Launched in 2011, Tiangong-1 was China's first space station. In the past seven years, it hasn't gotten a lot of use – only two crews of astronauts have spent time on it, in 2012 and 2013. Despite this, Tiangong-1 remained fully operational until, in 2016, China's space agency, the China National Space Administration, lost contact with it. As you read this, Tiangong-1 is falling towards earth. Each orbit it takes brings it closer to our atmosphere. Soon, gravity will finish the job it started, pulling Tiangong-1 back to earth.

No one's quite sure where the eight-ton piece of space junk is going to land yet, but thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project, it's possible to watch it as it comes down.


As Tiangong-1 makes its last few orbits of Earth before burning up in the atmosphere in a few days, you can watch the Chinese space station live online through a robotically controlled telescope at The Virtual Telescope Project.

Live coverage of the event will start Wednesday (March 28) at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), but the organizers said the timing could change closer to the event. You can visit this page on The Virtual Telescope Project's website to see updates.


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