Defunct Chinese space lab plunges back to Earth

Pogba insists problems'can only make me stronger

"Most parts were burned up in the re-entry process", it stated.

"The JFSCC works alongside government, industry and worldwide partners to track and report reentries, to include today's Tiangong-1 reentry, because the space domain is vital to our shared global security interests", said Major General Stephen Whiting, deputy commander of JFSCC.

It won't be a bird or a plane: If you look up to the sky next week, you may see a Chinese spacecraft on one of its last cruises around Earth before it hurtles through our atmosphere and explodes in a fiery hail of debris.

Using radar and optical sensors, the 19,000 lb craft was tracked as it re-entered the atmosphere and largely incinerated everything aboard, with any remaining pieces coming to rest 2,400 miles Southeast of New Zealand - roughly the area that the International Space Station will be guided to fall into should that need arise in the next 10 years. Its last team withdrew in 2013 and contact with it was cut in 2016. Since then, experts have been carefully monitoring the lifeless mass of metal, which has been steadily making its way back to Earth.

Only about 10 per cent of the bus-sized, 8.5-tonne spacecraft will likely survive being burned up on re-entry, mainly its heavier components such as its engines. Now we can finally put an end to this chapter!

The final and predicted re-entry locations as calculated by The Aerospace Corporation.




"We believe it was an uncontrolled entry", Thompson said, adding that the corporation's own estimate had been just 15 minutes behind the time announced by China. "The SPOUA has always been used by many space agencies including ESA, to dispose of end-of-life spacecraft through controlled reentries", said the ESA in a blog post. Normally, a space agency will retire a satellite by purposely guiding it into the atmosphere, at an angle and speed such that it burns up completely or re-enters Earth's atmosphere far from human populations.

Back in 1979, NASA was in a similar situation when its 77-ton SkyLab was on a descent back toward Earth.

Tiangong, which means "heavenly palace", stopped communicating with Chinese officials in March of 2016. Created to house two astronauts at a time, it successfully docked two manned spacecrafts - the 2012 Shenzhou 9 mission that included China's first female astronaut and the 2013 Shenzhou 10 mission.

Reports to the contrary, it said Monday, were because "foreign media envy China's space programme".

It hosted China's first woman astronaut, Liu Yang of the Shenzhou IX mission. "Although it's only aimed to test the technologies for space station, it has many far-reaching effects", Mao Xinyuan, a columnist, was quoted as saying.

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