China’s 8.5-ton space station will come crashing down to Earth from Saturday onwards, the country’s space authorities said, although they can not confirm where it is likely to hit.

The Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace” lab, will hit the earth between March 31 and April 4 and “should” burn up in the atmosphere, Chinese space officials said this week.

China’s first space lab was launched in 2011 and had “comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission” five years later.

It had ceased sending data and entered its “final phase of life” on March 16, according to a notice issued by the China Manned Space Engineering Office.

It is currently orbiting at an average height of about 216.2 kilometres, but experts are still unclear about the exact location of re-entry.

“It is impossible to name the exact reentry location at this stage”, an unnamed expert told the state-run Global Times newspaper.

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