Defunct Chinese space lab set to re-enter Earth's atmosphere

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China's Tiangong-1 spacecraft will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at some point on Monday, China's space agency says.

Chinese officials said the falling debris will not cause much damage as small amounts of the space labs fuel will be burnt together with other parts on its re-entry into the earths atmosphere.

But there is "no need for people to worry", the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said on its WeChat social media account.

Saturday, the European Space Agency announced it's targeting 6:25 PM CDT as the most likely time for re-entry.

Luckily, the chances of it hitting a person are infinitesimal.

In this September 29, 2011, file photo, a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with China's Tiangong-1 space station blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province.

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The Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 is expected to fall back to Earth within the next 24 hours, putting an end to the almost 19,000-pound, out-of-control space craft.

The "Heavenly Palace" space station was China's first as the country bulked up its space program.

It launched Tiangong 2 in September 2012 as a second phase of its space labs, with hopes to eventually develop something more permanent.

ESA, which has a department specialising in space debris, recalled that at first the space ship's controlled re-entry into Earth's atmosphere was planned once its useful life was over, but Tiangong-1, which was launched in 2011, stopped functioning in March 2016. And the Chinese government informed about the defunct to the United Nations in May.

Scientists had earlier said it might be possible to see the spacecraft burn up in a "series of fireballs streaking across the sky".

Most famously, America's 77-ton Skylab crashed through the atmosphere in 1979, spreading pieces of wreckage near the southwestern Australia city of Perth, which fined the US $400 for littering.

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"Calmer space weather around Earth and its atmosphere is now expected in the coming days".

China inexplicably lost contact with Tiangong 1 in 2016, three years after crews abandoned the lab. Since then it has been orbiting gradually closer and closer to Earth on its own while being monitored.

Since China conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 - becoming only the third country after Russian Federation and the do so - it has taken on increasingly ambitious projects, including staging a spacewalk and landing its Jade Rabbit rover on the moon.

The ESA is now predicting a narrower window of tonight to late Sunday evening.

It also plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

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