China’s second space station mysteriously lowers its orbit
The first Chinese space lab incinerated upon impact
China’s second space station is confounding space experts -- leading them to speculate over the fate of the Tiangong-2.
But then on June 22nd -- 10 days after the initial drop -- the space station unexpectedly reverted to its previous orbit height of 242 miles.
The Tiangong-2 -- which means "heavenly palace" in Mandarin -- was launched in 2016 to test its ability to support a crew and refuel while in orbit, and is considered a key step forward for China’s space program.
So what’s happening?
Space is shaping up as a new battleground between the world’s superpowers -- and despite being the “final frontier”, it’s not immune from Earth-bound problems.
It’s not clear when China plans on decommissioning the station, but the recent activity means it still has control of the craft, unlike the Tiangong-1 -- which authorities lost control of after keeping it in orbit beyond its original retirement date.
An added benefit is that the extra fuel used will make its eventual return to Earth less explosive.