The Chinese space agency just announced that it plans to deorbit its second space lab, Tiangong-2, in 2019. Tiangong-2 would be the second Chinese orbiter to fall on Earth after the crash of the Tiangong-1 earlier this year. However, this time, the Chinese space agency announced that it could control the lab’s descent, so there won’t be any danger in this process.
Earlier this year, about six months ago, the first Chinese space lab, Tiangong-1, plummeted to Earth falling in the South Pacific after it burned up as it descended through the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the Chinese space agency lost control over Tiangong-1 since last year.
In the case of Tiangong-2, on the other hand, the engineers still have control over the lab’s systems so they will deorbit it from the ground, without any problem.
China’s Tiangong-2 space lab to fall on Earth in 2019
“Tiangong-2 has fulfilled its mission during the two-year time, and all the loads are now in good condition,” said Lin Xiqiang from the China Manned Space Engineering Office. “It will be in orbit until July 2019, and then will be controlled to deorbit,” the scientist added.
The most extended Chinese space mission took place on Tiangong-2 in 2016 when two astronauts spent about a month inside the space lab where they carried out medicine, physics, and biology experiments.
China’s Tiangong program (Tiangong – “Heavenly Palace” in English) is the first big leap China took under the perspective of deploying a multifunctional, permanent space station in 2022. But that would be just one part of the ambitious Chinese space program which aims to send an exploration mission to the dark side of the Moon.
“Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world,” said Wu Yanhua from the Chinese space agency back in 2016.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.