China's first space laboratory, Tiangong I, bade farewell on Monday morning as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere before breaking apart in a fireball over the South Pacific Ocean.
"The JFSCC works alongside government, industry and worldwide partners to track and report reentries, to include today's Tiangong-1 reentry, because the space domain is vital to our shared global security interests", said Major General Stephen Whiting, deputy commander of JFSCC.
Moments before the re-entry of Tiangong-1, China's Space agency had wrongly predicted that the space module would renter off Sao Paulo, Brazil and would burn up over the Atlantic. Gerald McKeegan and Conrad Jung spent the afternoon reviewing the data that monitored the space station's whereabouts. But, in September 2016, the Chinese space officials informed that they have lost control over Tinagong-1 as the space module got disconnected from the mission control team. "In some ways it's like watching meteors in the sky except this one was created by humans", Jung said. "Most parts were burned up in the re-entry process." the agency added. "That's the downside of it coming down over the ocean". The Tiangong-1 had previously docked with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft.
China's first space station flamed out in the atmosphere and any remaining fragments have now been consigned to a watery grave in the South Pacific.
The space lab will mostly be burnt up in the atmosphere and it's highly unlikely to cause any damage on the ground.
At approximately 08:15 the unit entered the atmosphere to the earth's surface has reached only a small part of the structure, the station is nearly all burned in the air. However, it broke up over the Pacific Ocean and keeps the record clean of people being injured by falling space debris. According to the ESA, the members of the committee pooled their predictions of Tiangong's re-entry time and will be using the results to better understand how to predict the behavior of space debris.
The 10.4-metre-long (34.1-foot) Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace 1", was launched in 2011 to carry out docking and orbit experiments as part of China's ambitious space programme, which aims to place a permanent station in orbit by 2023.
Tiangong-1 was lofted on September 29, 2011, and had a projected two-year lifespan. It shows what a cluttered mess Earth's orbit is.