SpaceLab, the history of the chinese space station

The chinese space station, Tiangong-1 came down today in an uncontrolled reentry to earth. Most of it burnt up but the pieces that survived settled into a water grave in southern pacific. Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011 to serve as a prototype and testbed for china’s upcoming space station in 2022. It weighted 8506 kg and Took one and a half hours to complete one orbit of the earth. It could carry 3 people at max. It was supposed to be in operation for 2 years but was in operation for 4 and a half years till 2014. In 2016, it stopped working and all communications were lost, however it remained in orbit. During it’s lifetime it has served as a manned laboratory and an experimental testbed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities during its two years of active operational life.



Tiangong-1 was visited by a series of Shenzhou spacecraft during its two-year operational lifetime. The first of these, the unmanned Shenzhou 8, successfully docked with the module in November 2011, while the manned Shenzhou 9 mission docked in June 2012. A third and final mission to Tiangong-1, the manned Shenzhou 10, docked in June 2013. The manned missions to Tiangong-1 were notable for including China’s first female astronauts, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping.

On 21 March 2016, after a lifespan extended by two years, the China Manned Space Engineering Office announced that Tiangong-1 had officially ended its service. They went on to state that the telemetry link with Tiangong-1 had been lost. A couple of months later, amateur satellite trackers watching Tiangong-1 found that China’s space agency had lost control of the station. In September, after conceding they had lost control over the station, officials speculated that the station would re-enter and burn up in the atmosphere late in 2017. According to the China Manned Space Engineering Office, Tiangong-1 reentered over the South Pacific Ocean, northwest of Tahiti, on 2 April 2018 at 00:15 UTC.


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