Tiangong-1, the first experimental space station in China , will fall to Earth and will disintegrate in the atmosphere almost completely in a matter of weeks, as announced by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Tiangong-1 space laboratory was launched into space on September 29, 2011 from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in China, aboard a Chinese Long March 2F rocket (same used to put the Shenzhou spacecraft into orbit) . Tiangong-1 has a length of 10.4 meters, a diameter of 3.3 meters and a weight of 8.5 tons.
In March 2016, the Chinese space engineering office announced that the mission of the space laboratory had been completed . Since then, it was expected that at the beginning of 2018 it would fall to Earth to disintegrate in the atmosphere, and now ESA estimates that this will happen between March 24 and April 19. The calculations of the space agency indicate that its entry into the atmosphere will be “anywhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south,” and some debris might not disintegrate completely. ESA warns that it will not be possible to know the exact place of its entry until days or even hours before it happens.
China hopes to have its new manned space station ready for the next decade.