Mission complete: China’s first space lab Tiangong-1 re-enters atmospher



‍China’s first space lab, Tiangong-1, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at 8:15 a.m. BJT (0015GMT) on Monday, China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said.

It mostly burnt up in the atmosphere when it re-entered the atmosphere over the central area of the southern Pacific Ocean, according to the CMSEO.

Related: Will the Tiangong-1 debris hit you?

From launch to burning, Tiangong-1 completed a series of groundbreaking missions, including six dockings with three Shenzhou spacecrafts, two of which are manned, making great contributions to China’s space program.

The following is a quick review of some most notable moments throughout Tiangong-1’s service.


Tiangong-1 launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and was successfully placed into low Earth orbit on Sept. 29, 2011.

Autonomous orbital docking

The unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft successfully docked with Tiangong-1 on Nov. 3, 2011, marking China’s first orbital docking.

China's Shenzhou-8 spacecraft docked with Tiangong-1.

Manned missions:-


The manned Shenzhou-9 spacecraft launched successfully on June 16, 2012, carrying with it China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, and docked with Tiangong-1 on June 18, 2012.

The first docking was entirely computer-controlled.

A second crew-guided docking was successfully conducted on June 24, 2012.

The crew members of Shenzhou-9 spacecraf


The manned Shenzhou-10 spacecraft launched on June 11, 2013, with China's second female astronaut, Wang Yaping aboard. Shenzhou-10 docked successfully with Tiangong-1 on June 13.

The crew of Shenzhou-10 completed China's first orbital maintenance operation, replacing Tiangong-1's interior cladding, on June 15, 2013.

What is also worth remembering is that the three crew carried on teaching in Tiangong-1, showing physical phenomena such as object movement and liquid surface tension in the weightless environment.

The three crew of Shenzhou-10 carried on teaching in Tiangong-1.

Orbit decay

Tiangong-1 had seen its orbit decay since it ended its data service on March 16, 2016.