Meanwhile, China past year launched Tiangong-2, which has hosted Chinese astronauts called taikonauts for 30 days in 2016 and subsequent unmanned missions.
One year after launch of 2012, country's first female astronaut Liu Yang visited station, which was used for both manned and unmanned space missions.
Since then the station's orbit has been steadily decaying.
So far, that's meant a slow decay in its orbit, but in the last few weeks the craft has dropped to a denser part of the Earth's atmosphere and begun to descend more rapidly.
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The Harvard University scientist forecasts Tiagong-1 "will come down a few months from now - late 2017 or early 2018".
When China told the United Nations that its space station that was launched in 2011 was on a downward spiral, predictions were that it would crash to Earth somewhere between October 2017 and April 2018.
The Earth's atmosphere is such that most of the space station will burn up in the atmosphere and will lessen the damage but still, some of the parts that weigh up to 100kg will crash into the Earth's surface.
Predicting where it is going to come down would be impossible even in the days ahead of its landing, McDowell said.
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He said in 2016, "You really can't steer these things. Not knowing when it's going to come down translates as not knowing where it's going to come down". Even slight changes in upper atmosphere weather could nudge it between continents.
There have been many uncontrolled re-entries of larger spacecraft and none have ever been reported to have caused injuries to people.
In 1979, NASA's Skylab space station hit Australia during its own fall to Earth, and the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 space station followed suit over Argentina in 1991. However, in 2016, Chinese officials confirmed the news that they had lost control of the space station and it was expected to crash on Earth in 2017 or 2018.
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