China’s Tiangong-1 space lab will likely fall to Earth between March 30 and April 2, according to the latest prediction by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany.
By Leonard David | SPACE.com
This window is „highly variable,“ not ironclad, Space Debris Office representatives stressed in the updated forecast, which was issued yesterday (March 21).
Tiangong-1 was lofted in late September 2011, to help test the docking and rendezvous technologies required to build a bona fide space station, which China aims to do by the mid-2020s. [China’s Tiangong-1 Space Lab in Pictures]
The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and an unpiloted Shenzhou spacecraft on Nov. 2, 2011. Two piloted missions were subsequently completed to visit Tiangong-1: Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10, in June 2012 and June 2013, respectively.