Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," was launched into orbit in September 2011. The space lab played host to China's two crewed missions in 2012 and 2013, during which Chinese astronauts carried out docking procedures and other operations on this space station.
Finally, in case you were wondering just how big the Chinese space station crashing to Earth really is.
Most of the station is likely to burn up in the atmosphere but some debris could survive to hit the surface of the Earth. A defunct space laboratory is set to become a celestial fireball as it re-enters earth's atmosphere in the next 24 hours, China's space authority said today, hitting speeds of over 26,000 kilometres an hour before disintegrating.
According to scientists from China's space agency, the view could like a slow-moving shooting star that splits into a few more shooting stars.
Mr McDowell has also pointed out that if part of the space station lands in your garden "it's not yours, it's still China's". The chance of someone getting hit by the spacecraft is very low, as TIME has previously reported.
Huang Weifen, deputy chief designer of the Astronaut Center of China, said it played an important role in China's space history and provided "precious experience" for building a space station, according to the official Xinhua news agency. According to the Aerospace Corporation, the 8.5-ton space station could land along a strip of the United States from northern California to Pennsylvania, which includes the southern Lower-Peninsula of MI.
Control of Tiangong-1 was lost two years ago, and its orbit had been decaying ever since.
Researchers installing China's first space station module Tiangong-1 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province prior to its launch on September 29, 2011. The original programme suggested it would go through a planned de-orbiting prior to controlled Earth re-entry.
Without being able to communicate with the space lab, controllers have no way of managing its descent.
China will step up efforts to coordinate with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs as the re-entry nears, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.
China's space program remains highly secretive and some experts have complained that a lack of information about Tiangong 1's design has made it harder to predict what might happen upon its re-entry.
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