One of China’s highest profile space projects ended up in flames when, on Monday morning, re-entered our planet’ atmosphere and finally landed in the middle of the South Pacific. According to the China Manned Space Agency, most parts of Tiangong-1 burned when the space lab re-entered the atmosphere. For those who may not be familiar with this space station, it was launched back in September 2011 and its name translates to “heavenly palace”. It was initially a prototype of China’s very ambitious space project: a permanent space station expected to launch in the 2020s.
Recently, its uneventful end attracted attention from all over the world as scientists were struggling to discover its final destination. According to experts, their predictions were right, and the space lab did exactly as they predicted. It fell in a place that was uninhabited and didn’t hurt anyone or damage anything in the process. As for any possible amateur images of the space lab’s demise, experts don’t think any will surface. This is mostly because it was daytime in the Pacific when it fell. Scientists had previously said that it was only possible to see the space lab falling as a series of fireballs across the sky.
Tiangong-1 finally met it end
According to a former United States astronaut, Leroy Chiao, probably no major pieces of the spacecraft survived the crash. Firstly, Tiangong-1 was not that big anyway and secondly, it did not have a heat shield. So, any pieces that made it through the atmosphere are now probably at the bottom of the ocean.
Astronauts last used Tiangong-1 back in 2013. Back then, a team spent 12 days on it to conduct some experiments. In May 2017, the Chinese government told the United Nations that the vessel had stopped functioning in 2016 but didn’t mention a reason. Now, we finally know what happened to the “heavenly palace”.
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