China´s space agency said on Thursday that the nearly eight-tonne Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere some time between Saturday and Monday. Tiangong-1 China’s space lab on way to the Earth will it make any drastic impact the takers are few.
The European Space Agency has a smaller window between midday Saturday and early Sunday afternoon GMT time.
But there is “no need for people to worry”, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said on its WeChat social media account.
Such falling spacecraft do “not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth”, it said.
The lab was placed in orbit in September 2011 and had been slated for a controlled re-entry, but it ceased functioning in March 2016 and space enthusiasts have been bracing for its fiery return.
Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of the country´s rise. It plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.
China sent another lab into orbit, the Tiangong-2, in September 2016 and hopes to turn it into a crewed space station by 2022.