Michigan activates emergency operations for falling Chinese space station

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A photo of the giant screen at the Jiuquan space center shows the Tiangong-1 module is seen via a camera in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft before the automatic docking on July 18, 2012. STR/AFP/GettyImages

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Rick Snyder is making sure Michiganders don’t get surprised by a falling Chinese space station this weekend.

Thursday, Snyder activated the state Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to monitor the Tiangong-1 space station, which is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere anytime between today and Monday, April 2.

“While the chances are slim that any of the debris will land in Michigan, we are monitoring the situation and are prepared to respond quickly if it does,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMSHD) in a press release. “The state will rely on its existing satellite reentry response and recovery plan for any necessary response protocols.”

According to information forwarded by the state from the Aerospace Corporation, the 8.5 ton space station could land along a strip of the United States from northern California to Pennsylvania, and that includes the southern lower portion of Michigan.

Most of the space station is expected to burn up during reentry.  Any debris that does land could contain hydrazine, which is highly toxic and corrosive.  The SEOC says any space debris should be considered hazardous. Anyone coming in contact with the suspected debris should call 911 and stay 150 feet away.

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