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Tiangong-1 fall: China's space lab mostly burnt up after re-entering earth’s atmosphere above Pacific ocean

Tiangong-1 has re-entered the atmosphere, and the re-entrance zone is located in the central area of the South Pacific. Most devices are ablated and destroyed during re-entry.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: April 02, 2018 8:21 IST ]

Representative Image

China's out of control Tiangong-1 space lab re-entered the Earth's atmosphere around 05:45 am Monday (IST), China's Manned Space Agency said.

Tiangong-1 fell into the middle of the South Pacific, the space agency said.

The 40-foot long Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," is one of China's highest-profile space projects. The unmanned space lab was launched in September 2011 as a prototype for China's ultimate space goal: a permanent space station that is expected to launch around 2022. But the Chinese government told the United Nations in May 2017 that its space lab had "ceased functioning" in March 2016, without saying exactly why.

The incident was embarrassing for China's space program but it hasn't delayed its progress. In September 2016, China launched its second space lab, Tiangong-2.

Here are the live updates: 

06:58 am: Chinese space office has confirmed that the defunct Tiangong 1 space station has re-entered the atmosphere and mostly burned up.

06:45 am: 

06:57 am: Tiangong-1 has re-entered the atmosphere, and the re-entrance zone is located in the central area of the South Pacific. Most devices are ablated and destroyed during re-entry.

06:54 am: 

06:44 am: China's Tiangong1 space lab mostly burnt up in the atmosphere after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere at 8:15 a.m. BJT (0545 IST), expected to land in the central area of southern Pacific.

06:00 am: For the past two years, the space lab has been spiralling ever closer to Earth. It was difficult to predict when it would enter Earth’s atmosphere because it was moving so fast. “It’s going at 17 thousand miles an hour, so if you’re off by an hour you’re off by 17 thousand miles,” Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

05:40 am: The out-of-control Chinese space station is expected to hit Earth within minutes.

05:30 am: Experts say the Chinese Tiangong-1 space station will put on a 'splendid show' while burning through the Earth's atmosphere sometime within next hour.

05:20 am: The spacecraft was launched in 2011 but has now fallen out of orbit and is heading for Earth

05:10 am: The Tiangong-1 station carries toxic material, but experts say it's unlikely anyone will be hit

The principal part of the spaceship measured 10.4 metres long and was made up of two cylinders of approximately the same length, together with two solar panels of 3 by 7 metres each.

Weighing less than 8.7 tonnes, it is much smaller than other objects that have entered the atmosphere in an uncontrolled way in the history of space flights. The record up to now was set by Skylab, which weighed 74 tonnes.

Researchers across the globe have reportedly raised concerns due to highly toxic chemicals the space lab contains.

Watch what happened when the space rubble fell on earth last time: 

An astronomy enthusiast has posted flashback footage of an unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft re-entry in 2008. Footage shows the bright lights shooting across the sky above the Pacific Ocean.

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