Tiangong-1 artist illustration

Tiangong-1 artist illustration

Artist’s illustration of China’s Tiangong-1 space station. Means literally “Heavenly Palace 1” in English, the 8.5-tonne spacecraft was China’s first prototype space station.

Launched on 29 September 2011, and its operational life cycle was predicted at two years. On 21 March 2016, after its lifespan extended by two years, the Space Engineering Office of China announced that they had disabled data service since the space station had operated two and half years longer than its intended two-year service plan. The officials went on to state that the telemetry link with Tiangong-1 had been lost. But, a couple of months later, amateur satellite trackers watching Tiangong-1 began to speculate that China’s space agency had lost control of the station.

Tiangong-1 started reentry over the southern Pacific Ocean, northwest of Tahiti, on 2 April 2018 at 00:15 UTC and burned up in the atmosphere.

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