HELSINKI — China appears set to deorbit its Tiangong-2 space lab in the near future, according to a social media release from the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).
CMSEO announced a quiz competition (Chinese) Friday through its WeChat social media platform account, testing knowledge of launch times and mission details, to mark the ‘return of Tiangong-2’. No date for the planned re-entry was stated by CMSEO, which manages China’s human spaceflight endeavors.
Following the loss of contact with Tiangong-1 and subsequent uncontrolled re-entry of the 8.2-metric-ton spacecraft in April 2018, China announced in September last year that Tiangong-2 would be deliberately deorbited in 2019.
Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), stated that the space lab was functioning normally and would continue experiments and Earth observation until deorbiting in or after July 2019.
A SpaceNews query earlier this month to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, which receives advance information on high interest re-entries such as Mir and Tiangong-1, revealed that no updates had been received regarding the status of Tiangong-2.
SpaceNews first reported last year that a lowering of the spacecraft’s orbit indicated a probable deorbiting of the spacecraft. ...