So far, more than a dozen space stations have been sent into the Earth’s orbit to gather data and research, and also for military purposes. Skylab, Mir, Tiangong-1, and ISS are some of the most successful orbital space lab programmes.

What is a Space Station?

A space station is a modular spacecraft designed to act like an artificial satellite and to be capable of housing a certain number of crew members, who can perform scientific experiments and keep track of geological activities happening on the planet while revolving around it.

Tiangong-1: Chinese Space Station

Tiangong-1 is China’s first space station, which was launched on 29 September 2011.

Three research missions, first one being unmanned and the second and third ones being manned missions, were sent to Tiangong-1 during its two-year-long lifespan.

The space station is now doomed and making a re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Here are a few facts about the Chinese Space Station Tiangong-1 –

#1. Test Programme

Tiangong-1 was a testbed for a much larger space laboratory programme, which the dragon country is planning to build by 2020.

#2. Self Dependency in Space

China was denied entry into the International Space Station programme in 2011 due to political insecurities or as the rest of the world calls it: “national security” worries of the United States. The “international” space station has warmly welcomed astronauts from multiple countries, but China.

So, China built its very own space station: Tiangong-1.

#3. Wasn’t Designed to be Permanent

A press release by the government of China mentions that their space station isn’t going to be a forever in the sky. According to PR, Tiangong-1 was launched to serve only for two years. However, the Chinese government made an official statement about its falling back on to the Earth in 2016.

#4. Incalculable

Looks like they are weak in calculations!

Tiangong-1 was supposed to work for 2 years. Meaning, it should have stopped working in 2013. Although the space station was put into sleep mode in 2013, it kept orbiting around Earth for a much longer duration. In 2016, when the Chinese government announced its crashing to Earth, they were not sure when this event will take place and where exactly it (or its parts) will crash.

#5. The Crashing Site

There are just predictions only!

According to Aerospace Corporation, the retired space station may re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere along two narrow bands: 43° North and 43° South latitude.

So, according to this prediction, parts of North America, South America, New Zealand, Europe, and China are a possible crash site for the piece of metal falling from the space.

#6. Less Likely to Hurt

As it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it will most likely vaporize and look like a shooting star or steroids to sky gazers. But, the heavy parts of this debris – such as its engine and batteries – may make it to the ground.

Just for a gentle reminder, Tiangong-1 weighed about 18,753 pounds at the time of launch.

As per the calculation of some space scientists, metal pieces of more than 200 pounds may survive and hit the Earth’s surface.

Experts suggest that there is nothing to worry about for the crashing of Chinese Space Station, as it is pretty common for space debris to re-enter the atmosphere. Especially if you this–

#7. The Crashing

A new forecast issued by the European Space Agency hints that Tiangong-1 may crash between April 1, 2018, evening and April 2, 2018, morning.

The agency has also foretold that the possible crash site for the doomed Chinese space station is the Pacific Ocean.

However, that, too, is a prediction and they aren’t very sure of that.

#8. Heavenly Palace

The Chinese called Tiangong-1 “Heavenly Palace”.

But, it never worked like that - neither for the Chinese not for anyone else on the planet.

However, it has paved way for China’s future space station development programmes.

#9. Tiangong-2 is a Thing

Tiangong-2 is known as the “Celestial Palace” to the Chinese, and it is a space lab station programme of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). It was launched in 2016 and unlike Tiangong-1, it is also not planned to be a permanent orbital mission.