China's first-ever space lab will die a fiery death in Earth's atmosphere toward the end of next year, Chinese officials said. The 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) Tiangong-1 spacecraft is currently intact and orbiting Earth at an altitude of 230 miles (370 kilometers), according to Wu Ping, deputy director of China's Manned Space Engineering office. That's a bit lower than the International Space Station, which usually stays about 250 miles (400 km) above the planet's surface. Tiangong-1 will likely fall back to Earth in the second half of 2017, and its demise shouldn't cause problems here on the ground, Wu said. "Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling," she said during a news conference Wednesday (Sept.
A Chinese space station has come crashing down. Tiangong-1, which translates to "Heavenly Palace", fell to Earth on 1 April. Most of the 10.4-metre-long space station burned up as it hurtled through the atmosphere, but a few pieces may have remained intact and splashed down in the southern Pacific Ocean, just north-west of Tahiti. For the past two years, the space lab has been spiraling ever closer to Earth. It was difficult to predict when it would enter Earth's atmosphere because it was moving so fast.
The U.S., however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station and prompting it to gradually develop its own equipment. The new Long March 5B rocket has been specially designated to propel modules of the future space station into orbit.
The International Space Station hit a fun milestone on Monday. The station just surpassed its 100,000th orbit since the first component of the outpost launched to space in 1998. In total, this means the space laboratory has traveled about 2.6 billion miles, "or roughly the distance between Earth and Neptune," NASA said in a video description. It takes about 90 minutes for the station to make a complete orbit of Earth, and crewmembers on the station experience about 16 sunrises and sunsets per day. 'Game of Thrones' episode 5 will feature another intense flashback Emilia Clarke fans the flames for Daenerys' ascension to the Iron Throne