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Chinese space station burns up over South Pacific, raining debris into ocean

03 April 2018

Tiangong 1, the defunct space lab about the size of a bus, has always been expected to crash into Earth; it has finally done so. Well, most of its part burned up over the central South Pacific Ocean.

"The US, for very political reasons has shunned [China], pushing them into creating their own independent human space flight and robotic programme", Joan Johnson Freese, author of Space as a Strategic Asset said.

While most of the space station is expected to burn up during reentry, there is concern that debris could make landfall.

The "vast majority" of the craft burnt up on re-entry, at around 8.15am (0015 GMT), the authority said in a brief statement on its website, without saying exactly where any pieces might have landed.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted that it appeared to have come down north-west of Tahiti. It was only possible to predict a few hours before the impact.

Under the right conditions, scientists can gather sensitive information from spacecraft debris, such as what materials were used in its construction, which would point to a country's progress on space research.

And while the ending of this CCTV video triumphantly asserted "Tiangong-1: Mission accomplished" (shown above), other messages by the Chinese state broadcaster painted a tragic portrait of the fallen martyr. Although most of it was burned up as it entered Earth's atmosphere, the remains fell into the Pacific Ocean on the evening of April 1. For example, if a plane that is shaking around and tumbling, its more hard to evaluate its landing zone.

We've anticipated Tiangong-1's homecoming since 2016, when abnormalities in the space station's orbit suggested that the Chinese space agency had lost control of it.

Tiangong 1 was launched in 2011 and ended service in 2016 after completing its mission.

Is this the biggest space hardware to fall out of the sky? Last week, China informed that training for astronauts is under process.

"Tiangong-1 has carried millions of Chinese' space dream".

Asked about the space station, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing he had no other information and reiterated that China had been reporting the situation to the United Nations space agency in an open and transparent way. The Chinese space station that has been plunging towards for years now has finalized the plunge.

Because of this, it's used as the re-entry place for defunct satellites and spacecraft. The 60-ton station will have three parts-a core module attached to two space labs, each weighing about 20 tons-and will operate for at least 10 years, according to the manned space agency. Some of its parts were found near Perth, the southwest Australian city.

Chinese space station burns up over South Pacific, raining debris into ocean