April 2, 2018 / 2:10 AM / 5 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-China says space station to re-enter atmosphere off Brazil coast

(Corrects to say southern, not southwestern, coast of Brazil, southeast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, not southwest. This story has since been updated.)

* Tiangong-1 space station to re-enter atmosphere Monday morning

* Likely to re-enter off southern coast of Brazil

* Space station was launched in 2011

* Beijing says unlikely any large pieces will reach ground

SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - China’s Tiangong-1 space station is forecast to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere near the southern coast of Brazil between 8:42 a.m. and 9:01 a.m. (0042-0101 GMT) on Monday, the Chinese space authority said.

The craft is expected to re-enter in an area around 40.4 degrees west, 27.4 degrees south, the authority said on its website, giving it a position off the coast to the southeast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Beijing said on Friday it was unlikely any large pieces would reach the ground.

The 10.4-metre-long (34.1-foot) Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace 1”, was launched in 2011 to carry out docking and orbit experiments as part of China’s ambitious space programme, which aims to place a permanent station in orbit by 2023.

It was originally planned to be decommissioned in 2013 but its mission was repeatedly extended.

China had said its re-entry would occur in late 2017 but that process was delayed, leading some experts to suggest the space laboratory is out of control.

The Chinese tabloid Global Times said on Monday worldwide media hype about the re-entry reflected overseas “envy” of China’s space industry.

“It’s normal for spacecraft to re-enter the atmosphere, yet Tiangong-1 received so much attention partly because some Western countries are trying to hype and sling mud at China’s fast-growing aerospace industry,” it said. (Reporting by David Stanway and Wang Jing Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING Editing by Paul Tait)

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