On April 2nd, 2018 the Tiangong-1 space station crashed to Earth and landed in the Pacific Ocean. Now, the Tiangong-2 is in jeopardy of suffering the same fate.
China has stated the Tiangong-2 is expected to return to Earth in July of 2019. The re-entry will be controlled, so it will not be as dramatic as the Tiangong-1 crisis which was an uncontrolled fall into the pacific ocean.
“Tiangong-2 has fulfilled its mission during the two-year time, and all the loads are now in good condition. It will be in orbit until July 2019, and then will be controlled to deorbit.” says Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
The space lab, which has been in orbit for two years, was launched in 2016. It performed 14 projects and carried a 600 kg load. It has only seen a manned crew just once.
Using knowledge from the Tiangong 1 and 2, China is now setting its sights on a permanent space station project with construction starting in 2022.
In July we’ll be privy to another unique atmospheric entry from a man made object, albeit the control factor may make the event less dramatic than its predecessor.