05 April, 2018
In 2016, China had lost control of the craft as the spacecraft was no longer responding to ground control and stopped functioning. Heavenly Palace, which is what Tiangong-1 roughly translates to, is far away from the heavens, as whatever's left of it now rests at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean.
The station's fiery reentry was close to where scientists would have tried to direct it if they'd had any control over the spacecraft's return.
However, the exact spot where the torched remains landed remains unknown at this point. That could be a problem in a future - an atmosphere more packed with spacecraft presents a (slightly) higher risk for humans on the ground. But this spacecraft was large and multilayered enough that it was possible at least some segments or parts would survive the reentry.
"No one has ever been hurt by a piece of debris landing from space".
"Most likely the debris is in the ocean, and even if people stumbled over it, it would just look like rubbish in the ocean and be spread over a huge area of thousands of square kilometres".
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Tiangong-1 is a prototype space station, the first such initiative, launched by the Chinese Government. Space experts lauded it as an important achievement.
Let's hope that's the case with the next piece of space debris that rains down; there are over 21,000 objects larger than 4 inches big being tracked by the Department of Defense's U.S. Space Surveillance Network, and they're cruising at almost 18,000 miles per hour.
Those tracking China's free-falling space station as it plunged into Earth's atmosphere and burned up over the South Pacific Ocean are labeling the results as mostly successful.
The images considered the last of Tiangong 1 show it still intact.
Two crews of Chinese astronauts lived on the station while testing docking procedures and other operations. "It had helped us accumulate precious experience in constructing space station", said Huang Weifen, Deputy Chief Designer of the Astronaut Center of China.
The Tiangong-1, measuring 10 metres long and weighing around 8.5 tonnes, was launched on September 29, 2011. Speaking to Newsweek before the crash, he said that the Tiangong-1 reentering Earth's atmosphere was "not something we should be concerned about".