Chinese bid farewell to space lab Tiangong-1
The space lab re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at around 8:15 a.m. on Monday over the South Pacific, and was mostly burnt up in the atmosphere, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said.
Launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Sept. 29, 2011, Tiangong-1 was tasked to test the technologies in rendezvous and docking between spacecraft and to accumulate experience for developing a space station.
It had successfully docked with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, and was visited by six astronauts, including two females.
In June 2013, female astronaut Wang Yaping aboard Tiangong-1 delivered a lecture to students on Earth about physics, inspiring public enthusiasm for science and space exploration.
Tiangong-1 was in service for four and a half years, two and a half years longer than its designed life, making important contributions to China's manned space cause, paving the way for China to become the third country in the world to build a permanent space station around 2022.
Huang Weifen, deputy chief designer of the Astronaut Center of China, said, "The important role of Tiangong-1 would go down in China's space history. It had helped us accumulate precious experience in constructing space station." ■