We have been following the journey of the Tiangong-1 Space Station for quite some time now and the day that it re-entered the atmosphere is finally here. The time for re-entry has been confirmed as 00:16 GMT, by the US Joint Force Space Command Component (JFSCC).
The Tianong-1 Space Station made its entry and burned over the Pacific Ocean. This is in line with what was expected and finally put an end to months of anticipation. JFSCC tracked the Chinese space station with the help of assets from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, and South Korea.
Tiangong was the China’s first space station and was launched back in 2011. It was designed to accommodate 2 astronauts and teams visited the station in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In March 2016, the Chinese National Space Administration lost contact with the station and lost the ability to send it into the atmosphere in a controlled entry.
The orbit of the Space Station declined over the course of next two years. But, the huge number of variables made it impossible to pinpoint exactly when the space station will be re-entering the atmosphere. It was only possible to predict a few hours before the impact.
The Chinese Space Station weighed 8.5 tonnes and this huge size meant that as much as 20 % of it could have reached the Earth’s surface. However, it broke up over the Pacific Ocean and keeps the record clean of people being injured by falling space debris. Now we can finally put an end to this chapter!