Space Station Splatters Pacific
According to that country's space agency, the one that lost control of an entire space station two years ago, Tiangong 1 has safely crashed along a rectangular path across the surface of open and deepwater ocean in the South Pacific, without striking land or person. Officials of the state news agency Xinhua claimed that the craft 'mostly' burnt up re-entering the earth's atmosphere.
The official time of atmospheric reentry was recorded at 8 PM CDT 1 April 2018, Lake Charles, time.
Other than the obvious danger of being struck by falling debris for those on land, the school bus sized hulk still contained an unknown amount of hydrazine, a strong base rocket fuel with carcinogenic properties.
We're very fortunate the craft fell where it did, thousands of miles from land. It fell a little north of the so-called 'satellite graveyard' in that remote part of the earth. A very remote area of the South Pacific where space agencies routinely send satellites and other space junk to die in controlled re-entries.
Red Communists Spare Detroit!
With all the political talk out and amuck regarding tariffs and the Chinese, for a millisecond I considered the above as a 1960s throwback combination communism and space race scare for the screaming headline for this post. But common sense prevailed, and surely the Chinese would not use a fading orbitally decaying out of control space station to stop automobile production in the Motor City in an all-out trade war secret attack from space with us. Would they?
However, the salty grain of truth to that provocative title is at one point a couple of weeks back the city of Detroit was named a possible landfall area, as it lies at the northernmost edge of the projected path and worked out longitudinally to within a few hours of the eventual landfall.
On March 12th we first reported the sinking station on these pages and Detroit was mentioned as a locale with a decent shot at taking a shot. Chinese Space Station to Hit Detroit?
This news didn't simply increase the sales of tin foil in the Detroit area for the UFO crowd, it was very scary and realistic.
Ranking in our southern Gulf-of-Mexico-Life perception maybe somewhere in danger from less than a hurricane, but more frighteningly spotty and sudden like a tornado at night. Which is nearly impossible to prepare for or defend against.
It would have been a disaster anywhere it may have struck people, and Detroit was the largest metropolitan area in the edgy yellow path.
The threat was so real, the Governor of Michigan the Honorable Rick Snyder declared the state a disaster area and activated the state's Emergency Operations Center to monitor the last few days of the station's fall. Maybe the next city council meeting they can bill China for incurred expenses and emotional distress.
It's unknown as to how many Detroiters held backyard end of the world Chinese space station crash watch parties Saturday night.
SWLA Spared By ChiCom Space Probe!!
That's another screaming headline momentarily considered and just as quickly dispatched to the reject pile, but true enough our area was in the path of the falling space station. The path wrapped around the equator (graphic in the green band) for the slowly tumbling end over end and wobbling junkpile spanning 43° North and South of the equator, see the path here.
So yeah, Lake Charles was in theory in the path, but the odds were more than infinitesimal a piece would splatter down into the lake.
Though it would have made an interesting light show for those parked along I-10 at the moment, and already late and trying to get to the end of the world space station crawfish boil.