09 January 2018
The Chief Designer of China's space laboratories has denied Western media reports that the nation's Tiangong 1 space lab was "out of control" and will crash land, according to Science and Technology Daily. Zhu Zongpeng, a Senior Scientist with the China Academy of Space Technology, which has built the Tiangong series, told the Beijing newspaper that Chinese scientists are constantly monitoring Tiangong 1 and will "make it fall back to the Earth" in the first half of this year. Parts of the spacecraft will burn up during re-entry, while the rest will fall into a designated area of the ocean without endangering people and property on the ground, he said.
Already last year, ESA announced that it will host a test campaign to follow the re-entry of Tiangong 1, which will be conducted by the Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC). IADC comprises space debris and other experts from 13 international space agencies and organisations. ESA had to manage its own uncontrolled re-entry of its GOCE satellite in 2013 and will need to handle its inactive 8.2 t Earth-observing satellite ENVISAT which is still in medium Earth orbit but contact was lost in April 2012.
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Tiangong 1 Target Vehicle Orbital Status Weekly Reports on the CMSA website