BEIJING — A Chinese space Tiangong-1, roughly the size of a school bus has pierced the Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific, most of it has reportedly burned up, Chinese state media says.
The space station made its long-awaited re-entry in the central region of the South Pacific at 8:15 am [00:15 GMT] on Monday, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, citing the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).
The ‘Heavenly Palace’, also known as Tiangong-1, began its descent around 10:15am, according to Xinhua. Once it reached around 70km above the surface, the intense heat of re-entry melted the craft and it began to break apart.
Launched in 2011, the Tiangong-1, became China’s first space station. Before China lost control of its first orbiter in October 2016, it hosted two crewed missions in 2012 and 2013. It is presumed that the station was free-falling due to a technical malfunction, although, the Chinese have not confirmed or denied that.
The crashed space lab burned up almost entirely on its way back to Earth, Chinese media reported, citing data from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.Follow @gorkhapost
NASA’s Parker spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look
CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA has launched a spacecraft to the sun which will fly closer to our star than anything ever sent before. The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday.
The spacecraft is on an unprecedented quest that will take it straight through the wispy edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, just 3.8 million (6 million kilometers) from the sun’s surface that was visible during last August’s total solar eclipse.
It will eventually stay comfortably cool despite the extreme heat and radiation allowing scientists to vicariously explore the sun in a way never before possible.
Saturday morning’s launch attempt was foiled by last-minute technical trouble and postponed by a day.
But what better day to launch to the sun than Sunday, as NASA noted.
“Fly baby girl, fly!!” project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University tweeted just before lift-off. She urged it to “go touch the sun!”
— NASA (@NASA) August 12, 2018
“All I can say is, ‘Wow, here we go.’ We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” said Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.
It was the first time NASA named a spacecraft after someone still alive, and Parker wasn’t about to let it take off without him.
Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site in the middle of the night as well as surrounding towns, including Parker and his family.Follow @gorkhapost