China's First Space Station Has Broken Up, Landed in Pacific Ocean [Update]


Update 4/2/18: As predicted, the Chinese space station hit the atmosphere over the weekend. Specifically, Tiangong-1 reentered the atmosphere at 8:16 PM EDT Sunday, April 1. We knew the station would re-enter between 42.8 degrees north and south latitude, but the longitude was unclear until right before the end. The station ended up coming down over Pacific Ocean. China’s space agency lost control of the station in 2016, but it had already been placed in hibernation mode for long-term observation at that point.

The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology captured the above radar image of Tiangong -1 at an altitude of 100 miles as it made its final tumbled into the atmosphere. It is believed that the bus-sized spacecraft broke up into small fragments before impacting the ocean.

While Tiangong-1 is no more, China already has another home in space. It previously launched the Tiangong-2 space station and plans for more manned based in the future.

Original post 3/22/18: 

China didn’t intend for the Tiangong-1 space station to last forever, but it also didn’t want the station to plummet into the atmosphere randomly. After China lost control of the aging space platform, scientists around the world set to work tracing its position to find out when and where it would reenter the atmosphere. We’ve got it narrowed down a little today. Dr Marco Langbroek, who has been watching Tiangong-1 closely, says it’ll come down in the next week or so.


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