China’s orbital research facility Tiangong-2 ended their mission and with that the whole point of their existence. The Chinese space agency declares that the platform orbited and destroyed itself just how they planned it, this Friday barely after the 9 AM ET mark. The platform .fell over the South Pacific Ocean.
Tiangong-2 Exceeded Its Initial Life Span
It has been confirmed that at the time of the falling, it weighed around 6 tons, being too slow, causing it to ignite itself and slowly disintegrating. The space station that was Tiangong-2 was considered too small to be measured against the ISS. The space station had a research module with enough space for only two astronauts.
Tiangong-2 had the lift-off in September 2016 with a planned life span of only two years, yet that was exceeded, as the Chinese space station orbited for even more than 1000 days.
It’s predecessor, Tiangong-1, spent almost three years orbiting, falling and disintegrating in an uncontrolled manner, unlike the Tiangong-2. China Manned Space Agency stated: “Most parts were burned up in the re-entry process.”
A New Beginning
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics also stated: “It did exactly what it was expected to do; the predictions, at least the past 24 hours’ ones, were spot on; and as expected it fell somewhere empty and did no damage.”
Tiangong-2’s life span as a space station far exceeded expectations, China planning this de-orbit – compared to that of the Tiangong-1’s de-orbit that happened last year and was not planned, yet wasn’t a threat for the population on the ground.
The recently disintegrated space stations and the next planned one to launch, Tiangong-3, have been designed to orbit for a limited amount of time, pursuing testing key technologies. The actual Chinese space station experience has been dubbed the Tianhe-1 core module, and it would start its mission life in 2020.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere