The China Manned Space Engineering Office says online that the experimental space lab re-entered around 8:15 a.m. local time Monday. The tumbling spacecraft posed only a slight risk to people and property on the ground, since most of the 8.5-ton vehicle was expected to burn up on re-entry. An image release by China Central Television showed the plunging space lab burning up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere:
Officials at the Joint Force Space Component Command said the satellite re-entered after 8 p.m. ET. Their statement mentioned that the reentry was confirmed "through coordination with counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom."
Below are some questions and answers about the station, its re-entry and the past and future of China's ambitious space program.