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On Friday, July 19th, China’s Tiangong-2 (“Heavenly Palace”) space laboratory successfully entered Earth’s atmosphere under controlled conditions and burned up above the South Pacific Ocean. This marked the successful completion of all of Tiangong-2’s tasks, which constituted China’s second attempt at testing their capability to conduct research and human operations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
According to the China Manned Space Agency, Tiangong-2 entered the atmosphere at 21:06 pm Beijing time (06:06 am PDT; 09:06 am EDT). While some debris fell into a “predetermined safe sea area in the South Pacific”, most of the space lab burned up during the descent. In total, the station spent over 1,000 days in orbit, exceeding its proposed 2-year lifespan considerably, and orbited Earth 16,209 times.
Tiangong-2 - Orbit - Sept - Feats - Dockings
Tiangong-2 was launched into orbit on Sept 15th, 2016, and has achieved some impressive feats ever since. These included completing four successive dockings with the Shenzhou-11 crewed spaceship and the Tianzhou-1 cargo spaceship. During its many orbits of Earth, Tiangong-2 supported astronauts teams of two, who would live and work in the station for a period of 30 days.
The station also allowed a number of key technological breakthroughs to be realized and completed a number of extended tests during its service. These accomplishments and those of its predecessor – Tiangong-1 – will lay the groundwork for the development, constructions, deployment, and operations aboard China’s third and final orbital laboratory, the Large Modular Space Station (LMSS).
Said - Astronaut - Jing - Haipeng - Birthday
Said astronaut Jing Haipeng, who spent his 50th birthday on Tiangong-2 on Oct. 24, 2016:
“As the first to enter Tiangong-2, I’m happy that the space lab has successfully completed its tasks, though I’m also missing it since it was our home in space. My memory of the 30 days on Tiangong-2 with Chen Dong is still fresh. We conducted many scientific experiments such as raising silkworms...
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