SEOUL, March 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea issued a precautionary alert due to the possibility of debris from a falling Chinese space station hitting the country, although the likelihood is very slim, Seoul’s ICT ministry said Friday.
The defunct Tiangong 1 is expected to enter the Earth’s atmosphere sometime between 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and 2:00 p.m. on Monday somewhere between latitudes 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said it has issued its lowest level alert as of 4 p.m. Friday and will upgrade the warning level to “critical” about two hours before the time of impact if it determines that there is a significant chance of the space station falling around South Korea.
The ministry noted that it is very unlikely that the defunct space lab will cause damage to people or property on the ground, as most of the vehicle is expected to burn up when reentering the Earth’s atmosphere.
The ministry said the chance of a person being hit by debris from the Tiangong 1 is almost none and such a case has never been reported.
The Tiangong 1, launched in 2011, is China’s first space station and served as an experimental platform for the country’s ambitious space program. The station was part of China’s mission to send the country’s first female astronauts into space.