What's Happening with China's Falling Space Lab?

Terry Joseph
April 4, 2018

In 2016, "Tiangong-1" has been uncontrolled as a result of breakdown.

"The JFSCC works alongside government, industry and global partners to track and report reentries, to include today's Tiangong-1 reentry, because the space domain is vital to our shared worldwide security interests", Major General Stephen Whiting, of the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, said in a statement. During a partially controlled re-entry, Skylab missed its target in the Indian Ocean, scattering some unburned pieces in western Australia. Later, the Chinese scientists predicted that the out-of-control space station would re-enter Earth's atmosphere in late 2017 or most probably, early 2018. But this spacecraft was large and multilayered enough that it was possible at least some segments or parts would survive the reentry. Since most of Tiangong 1 was expected to burn up during re-entry, the chances of someone being hit by debris was small, but not zero.

The European Space Agency gauge that the station, whose name interprets as "Heavenly Palace", will re-enter at some point between Sunday night and Monday morning GMT. A safe ending to Tiangong 1's unintended journey back to Earth.

In a Twitter post by the 18th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, SPCS said: "UPDATE: #JFSCC confirmed #Tiangong1 reentered the atmosphere over the southern Pacific Ocean at ~5:16 p.m. (PST) April 1".

Astrophysicist Brad Tucker of Australian National University called Tiangong 1's re-entry "mostly successful".

China's defunct space laboratory has returned to Earth, with pieces apparently splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America.

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Bill Ailor, of the Aerospace Corporation's Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies, said that this re-entry is not particularly risky for people. A second space lab, Tiangong-2, was launched in 2016. Space experts lauded it as an important achievement.

The corporation, which provides technical support for the space industry, had not been in touch with the Chinese side about the re-entry, Thompson said.

Tiangong-1 was visited by two crews of taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts.

The orbit of the Space Station declined over the course of next two years. The remains of the Mir space station and plenty of International Space Station supply spacecraft now reside in its watery depths and it's thought as many as 100 former spacecraft and satellites have splashed down in the area.

In mid-March of this year, it was evident that Tiangong-1 would return within a few weeks.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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