Sci-fi art by Chris Moore (1956). Daring, dynamic angles that convey a sense of awe and scale.
Moon and beyond by Alan Gutierrez
Space planes by Alface Killah
NASA space art by Rick Guidice, showing a space colony reflected in an astronaut’s helmet.
Distant Outpost by Jon Hrubesch
Merchant Space Station by ILJackson
Tiangong-1 plunges back to Earth over Pacific Ocean.
In the middle of its projected four-hour reentry window, China’s Tiangong-1 space station module fell to Earth Sunday evening, April 1. The U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) confirmed the laboratory’s fiery demise at 8:16pm EDT, or 0016 Coordinated Universal Time over the South Pacific ocean.
Using a global system of sensors and optical devices as well as orbital missile-detection satellites, JFSCC confirmed the station’s harmless reentry over the ocean just a few hundred kilometers from the ‘spacecraft graveyard.’’
Defunct satellites and space stations are usually directed to deorbit over a vast area of the South Pacific so that any remaining components can fall harmlessly into the sea. With Tiangong-1 no longer controllable, its precise impact point was impossible to predict.
Tiangong-1 impacted the south Pacific Ocean at 8:16pm EDT (0016 UTC) 780 kilometers east of American Samoa. P/c: Spaceflight101.
Imagery of the reentry has not yet surfaced, however, astronomer Justin Cowart may have found the smoke trail created by the station’s fragments in satellite images.
Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite, stationed over the South Pacific to monitor weather and cloud formations, shows a small streak of clouds appear in between frames taken of the reentry region. The series is spans a 30-minute timeframe and each image is taken ten minutes apart.
Cowart further expounds that the plume exhibits movement and longevity characteristics unlike the surrounding clouds, and appear almost exactly over Tiangong’s projected flight path. However, he explains there is still a possibility that these are naturally-occurring cloud formations.
Entry interface for the station began at roughly 122 kilometers in altitude, with its solar arrays ripping off around 90 kilometers. Simulations of the reentry estimated the failure of the single-module station’s hull around 65 kilometers in altitude. Any remaining fragments would continue to vaporize in a fireball, though around 15% of the station’s 9.4-ton mass was expected to survive and plunge into the ocean.
Launching in September 2011, Tiangong-1 orbited the Earth for 2,376 days and had an operational life of 1,630 days. Three Shenzhou spacecraft visited the laboratory, two of them with crews of three each. Technology learned from the missions helped influence the upgrades on Tiangong-2, which launched in September 2016.
P/c: Justin Cowart
‘The Asteriod Ring Resort’ by Steve R Dodd (2017) #fantasyart #scifiart #steverdodd #spacestation