Published: Thu, April 05, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Chinese space station crashes dramatically into Earth

Chinese space station crashes dramatically into Earth

"According to my knowledge, we have not found any harm to the Earth's surface". But the remote location likely deprived stargazers of the spectacle.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said the module zoomed over the Japanese city of Kyoto during daylight hours, reducing the odds of seeing it.

A defunct, uncontrolled Chinese space laboratory disintegrated under intense heat as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on Monday and its debris caused "no harm" as it plunged to a watery grave in the South Pacific, Chinese officials said.

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The craft re-entered the atmosphere around 8:15 a.m. Beijing time (0015GMT) and the "vast majority" of it had burnt up upon re-entry, the authority said in a brief statement on its website.

A radar image of Tiangong-1 on February 2. With a designated life span of two years, the spacecraft was in service for four and a half years before its retirement was announced by authorities in March 2016.

All in all, the station "conducted six successive rendezvous and dockings with spacecraft Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9, and Shenzhou-10 and completed all assigned missions, making important contributions to China's manned space exploration activities", said a memo China submitted in May to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

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"No one has ever been hurt by a piece of debris landing from space". Scientists could neither alter nor even really track Tiangong-1's descent. In 2016, China had lost control of the craft as the spacecraft was no longer responding to ground control and stopped functioning.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (Foreign language spoken). An expert interviewed by nationalist tabloid Global Times said it "re-entered the atmosphere because it ran out of fuel, not because it's out of control".

He said China has been exceedingly responsible in handling the matter in accordance with worldwide treaties and norms, and has shared information with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs several times to ensure information transparency. "Although it's only aimed to test the technologies for space station, it has many far-reaching effects", Mao Xinyuan, a columnist, was quoted as saying. At 5:16 pm PDT on April 1 (April 2, 00:16 GMT), China's school bus-sized Tiangong-1 met a fiery end over the South Pacific, ending weeks of uncertainty as to when and where it would land.

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