China announces controlled deorbit plan for Tiangong-2
Published: Jul 21, 2019 03:53 PM
China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) on Saturday announced its plan to deorbit Tiangong-2 space lab in the near future. The controlled re-entry in the atmosphere after successfully completing experiments and tasks on time, marks solid technical progress for further development of manned space, according to an expert.

Tiangong-2 is slated to re-enter the atmosphere on July 19, small debris is likely to fall into the designated safe area - from 160 degrees and 90 degrees west longitude, from 30 degrees to 45 degrees south latitude - in the South Pacific Ocean, according to the press release CMSEO sent the Global Times on Saturday.

Unlike Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 will be deliberately deorbited with its own propulsion systems to reenter the Earth's atmosphere, which will be much safer, Huang Zhicheng, an expert on space technology, told the Global Times on Saturday.

After more than 1,000 days of operation in good condition, Tiangong-2 successfully completed its assigned tasks including spacecraft docking, propulsor adding in orbit and scientific and technological experiments, stated the press release.

The 8.6-tons space lab built on the base of the backup target spacecraft of Tiangong-1 was launched to its orbit on September 15, 2016. Its primary tasks were to test advanced life support and refueling and resupply capabilities, in preparation for building a large space station in low Earth orbit.

"The success of all the experiments indicates that China has built a solid technology foundation to build a space station, a necessary step to accomplish further ambitious space plans," Huang said.

China will timely update information after the re-entry, fulfilling the international obligations of a responsible country, CMSEO said.