Beijing, April 2: As Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on Monday, burning up in the skies over the central region of the South Pacific, residents of the country bid the spacecraft a fil farewell. Regarded as a pioneer of Chi’s future space station, the experimental space lab re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere at around 8.15 a.m. on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Chi Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO). “Tiangong-1 has carried millions of Chinese’ space dream. Although it’s only aimed to test the technologies for space station, it has many far-reaching effects,” Mao Xinyuan, a columnist, was quoted as saying. The Tiangong-1, measuring 10 metres long and weighing around 8.5 tonnes, was launched on September 29, 2011.
The spacecraft was in service for four and a half years, two and a half years longer than initially planned, making important contributions to Chi’s manned space cause and paving the way for Chi to become the third country in the world to build a permanent space station around 2022. “The important role of Tiangong-1 would go down in Chi’s space history. It had helped us accumulate precious experience in constructing space station,” said Huang Weifen, Deputy Chief Designer of the Astrout Center of Chi.
The Tiangong-1, whose me translates as “Heavenly Palace 1,” had previously docked with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, and was visited by six astrouts, including two females. In June 2013, female astrout Wang Yaping aboard Tiangong-1 delivered a lecture to students on Earth about physics, inspiring public enthusiasm for science and space exploration.
The space lab ended its data service on March 16, 2016. In September 2016, Chi launched its new space laboratory, the Tiangong-2, which hosted its first manned mission with two astrouts on board between October and November, Efe news reported. (IANS)