I’m trying to understand what could happen when the Tiangong-1 will reenter the atmosphere (probably on march 2018).
Starting from an initial state obtained from a TLE, I integrate the position and velocity vectors of the Tiangong-1 until the reentry date. I do the same for each TLE I downloaded so far and here is the result:
The graph shows 65 possible trajectories based on 65 TLEs.
Next, I integrated few trajectories down to the ground to see the so called max q (maximum dynamic pressure) encountered during reentry.
According to my simulation, the max q should not exceed 11 kPa (usually I get 5 to 8 kPa). Just for comparison, the max q for the Saturn V was 35 kPa and for the Space Shuttle it was 28 kPa.
I also compared the max q for the TMA-M reentry module in an hypothetical ballistic reentry trajectory (not used during normal reentry), here is what I get:
Since the Tiangong-1 max q is very small, I think that some "hard" components (like engine nozzles) will survive to the reentry. What do you think? Any comment?