China announced this past weekend the end of the two-year mission of the Tiangong-2 space station. It will return to Earth in the middle of next year and disintegrate into our atmosphere. Tiangong-2 left the Earth on September 15th, 2016, thanks to the power of a Long March 2F rocket. The mission was scheduled to last two years and is, therefore, coming to an end.
Initially, the mission was scheduled to be launched in 2015, but the Chinese Space Agency was forced to postpone it due to a delay in the development of its launcher.
For two years now, Tiangong-2 has been in the orbit of our planet
The primary purpose of the Tiangong-2 mission was to offer a successor to Tiangong-1 and to test several technologies specific to the construction of space bases. The station is of course far from being able to compete with the ISS.
It is 10.4-meter long and 3.35-meter in diameter, and, like the previous station, Tiangong-2 consists of two modules. The second module reached a mass of 8.6 tons, while the first is dedicated to resources and propulsion systems.
Also, the second module is an experimental one that has allowed Chinese astronauts to conduct various experiments in space. China has not given any details, but the station is equipped with several instruments designed to detect high-energy bursts or to perform tests on quantum teleportation.
Tiangong-2 mission is scheduled to end in the summer of 2019
However, Tiangong-2’s time has now come to its end as the station is going to take a well-deserved retirement in the summer of 2019. China announced last week that the lab’s mission would be shut down.
In July 2019, the Chinese Space Agency will change the station’s configuration to start its latest journey, a venture that will end for this space station in the Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn for good. According to calculations made by Chinese representatives, the station will burn entirely in the atmosphere of our planet, and therefore no debris should touch the ground.