LOS ANGELES, CA – In what is sure to be one of the more remarkable feats in the young company’s history, SpaceX has managed to successfully catch Tiangong-1, the defunct Chinese space station, as it fell to Earth early this morning.
As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pointed out on Twitter, one of their recovery ships, Mr. Steven, was already in the Pacific following an attempted recovery of a SpaceX fairing that was launched on Friday. The Friday launch was Iridium-5, launching a series of 10 satellites into space.
The recovery marks the first time a space station has fell to Earth and been successfully recovered in tact.
Tiangong-1 was the first attempt by China to have a space station in orbit. The unmanned station means “Heavenly Place” or “Celestial Palace,” however the Chinese government lost contact with the station in 2016, after extending its mission two years longer than originally anticipated.
The world had watched as the craft slowly but surely descended into the Earth’s atmosphere. Due to the uncontrolled nature of it, it was unclear where exactly the craft was going to re-enter and land, which makes SpaceX’s and Elon Musk’s feat all the more impressive.
Alternative-Science.com spoke with a representative at SpaceX about the accomplishment, speaking under the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to make public comments.
“We all thought Elon was crazy when he pitched the idea to us in a staff meeting last week, but we thought we’d give it a try. It’s amazing to see what he’s been able to do in the realm of recycling rockets, but now that we can re-use satellites, it’s a whole new ballgame” they said.
It remains unclear when SpaceX plans on returning the satellite to the Chinese government. This is a developing story, and this article will be updated as more news becomes available.