THE Chinese spacecraft, Tiangong-1 (天宮一號), has returned to Earth and fell into the ocean in early April. Most of it burnt up as it went through the atmosphere, but 700kg of it fell into the southern part of the Pacific Ocean (太平洋) near Tahiti (大溪地), just missing what people call the ‘space cemetery’, where most spacecraft fall into when they come back to Earth.
Tiangong-1 was a space laboratory that was launched in 2011. Shenzhou (神舟) spaceships docked there six times to send in astronauts and their supplies. But the space lab stopped being responsive to Earth command in 2016.
Many Chinese netizens posted pictures of what seemed to be the spacecraft as it dropped back down to Earth. In the pictures was a long trail of white light or black smoke that could be the spacecraft in flames.
(This article is published on Goodies on 11 April 2018)