China has deorbited its experimental space station


Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua via Getty Images

A little over a year after its first space station crashed down over the Pacific Ocean, China has deorbited its second, the Tiangong-2. It entered Earth’s atmosphere and burned up over the South Pacific ocean on Friday.

Unlike the Tiangong-1 station’s uncontrolled descent, China deliberately brought the Tiangong-2 down to Earth in a controlled fashion over the Pacific, where there wasn’t any risk of it hitting people.

China launched the space station in September 2016, and quickly sent up a pair of taikonauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, to conduct a variety of experiments on a 30 day mission. China launched a second, uncrewed mission in April 2017 to refuel the station to test out a new spacecraft and conduct some “robotic…

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