This is an artist’s impression of the Tiangong 1 space station bursting into a series of fireballs at it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere
The demise of the nine-ton space station had been the subject of scientific speculation for months amid fears large chunks of it could come down near population centers. Experts had been unable to predict where the installation, which is roughly the size of a school bus, would come down but in the end it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific.
The craft re-entered the atmosphere around 8.15am Beijing time (0015GMT) and the ‘vast majority’ of it had burnt up upon re-entry, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said. Just minutes before, their best estimate predicted that it was expected to re-enter off the Brazilian coast in the South Atlantic near the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. China’s space authority said on Sunday that the station would hit speeds of nearly 17,000mph before disintegrating.
They previously said its fiery disintegration would offer a ‘splendid’ show akin to a meteor shower but the remote location likely deprived stargazers of a spectacle of fireballs falling from the sky.