China says Tiangong-1 space station to enter Earth's atmosphere on Monday

BEIJING, April 1 (Reuters) - China's Tiangong-1 spacecraft will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at some point on Monday, the country's space agency said in a statement.

The Manned Space Agency did not specify a time when it expects the craft to enter the atmosphere in its statement on Sunday.

No one knows for sure where debris may land though many experts believe much of the station will burn up during re-entry. Beijing said on Friday that it is unlikely any large pieces will reach the ground.

South Korea's National Space Situational Awareness Organization said on its website Sunday that the station is expected to re-enter the atmosphere sometime between 5:12 a.m. and 1:12 p.m. Seoul time (2012 GMT to 0412 GMT) on Monday.

SEE ALSO: China's out-of-control space station may release a toxic chemical when it crashes

The 10.4-meter-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 program, which aims to place a permanent station in orbit by 2023.

SEE MORE: More on Tiangong-1

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Tiangong-1 China's spacecraft
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 25: (CHINA OUT) Astronaut Zhang Xiaoguang attends a training on April 25, 2013 in Beijing, China. The three astronauts will be carried by the Shenzhou X spacecraft to visit the Tiangong-1 space module. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 08: (CHINA OUT) Astronaut Nie Haisheng attends a training on May 8, 2013 in Beijing, China. The three astronauts will be carried by the Shenzhou X spacecraft to visit the Tiangong-1 space module. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 25: (CHINA OUT) Astronaut Wang Yaping attends a training on April 25, 2013 in Beijing, China. The three astronauts will be carried by the Shenzhou X spacecraft to visit the Tiangong-1 space module. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Astronauts of the Tiangong-1/Shenzhou-9 Manned Space Docking and Rendezvous Mission delegation Liu Yang (L), Jing Haipeng (2nd L) and Liu Wang (R) arrive at Hong Kong's international airport on August 10, 2012. The members of the delegation are on a on a four-day visit aimed at sharing their experiences and knowledge about space technology. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
Astronauts (L to R in blue suits) Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang of the Tiangong-1/Shenzhou-9 Manned Space Docking and Rendezvous Mission delegation attend a press conference in Hong Kong on August 10, 2012. Three astronauts from China's first manual space docking mission received a rowdy welcome from hundreds of flag-waving children as they arrived in Hong Kong on August 10 for a four-day visit. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
JIUQUAN, CHINA - JUNE 03: (CHINA OUT) The spacecraft of Shenzhou X is seen on top of the Long March 2F launch vehicle at the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 3, 2013 in Jiuquan, China. China will launch the Shenzhou X spacecraft in the middle of June. The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to visit the Tiangong-1 space module. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
The Shenzhou X spacecraft carried by a Long March-2F carrier rocket is installed at the launch pad in Jiuquan, Northwest China's Gansu province in the morning of June 3, 2013. China will launch the Shenzhou X spacecraft in the middle of June, a spokesperson for the manned space program was quoted as saying by China Central Television on June 3.The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to visit the Tiangong-1 space module, state media reported. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
The Shenzhou X spacecraft carried by a Long March-2F carrier rocket is installed at the launch pad in Jiuquan, Northwest China's Gansu province in the morning of June 3, 2013. China will launch the Shenzhou X spacecraft in the middle of June, a spokesperson for the manned space program was quoted as saying by China Central Television on June 3.The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to visit the Tiangong-1 space module, state media reported. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
The Shenzhou X spacecraft carried by a Long March-2F carrier rocket is installed at the launch pad in Jiuquan, Northwest China's Gansu province in the morning of June 3, 2013. China will launch the Shenzhou X spacecraft in the middle of June, a spokesperson for the manned space program was quoted as saying by China Central Television on June 3.The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to visit the Tiangong-1 space module, state media reported. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
JIUQUAN, CHINA - JUNE 03: (CHINA OUT) The spacecraft of Shenzhou X is seen on top of the Long March 2F launch vehicle at the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 3, 2013 in Jiuquan, China. China will launch the Shenzhou X spacecraft in the middle of June. The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to visit the Tiangong-1 space module. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A girl in a school in Beijing asks Chinese female astrounaut Wang Yaping (Top R) questions as Wang delivers a lesson to students from Tiangong-1 space module in the morning of June 20, 2013. A Chinese astronaut orbiting more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) above the Earth's surface delivered a video class to children across the country on June 20, state television showed in a live broadcast. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese female astrounaut Wang Yaping is reflected in a drop of water floating in Tiangong-1 space module as she delivers a lesson to students that gathered in a school in Beijing in the morning of June 20, 2013. A Chinese astronaut orbiting more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) above the Earth's surface delivered a video class to children across the country on June 20, state television showed in a live broadcast. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Students gather in a school in Beijing as Chinese female astrounaut Wang Yaping (C on screen) and her two companions give them a live lesson from Tiangong-1 space module on the morning of June 20, 2013. A Chinese astronaut orbiting more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) above the Earth's surface delivered a video class to children across the country on June 20, state television showed in a live broadcast. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - JUNE 13: (CHINA OUT) Scientists look at the screen shows the Shenzhou X manned spacecraft conducting docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on June 13, 2013 in Beijing, China. China's Shenzhou X manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module on Thursday. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
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The spacelab 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.

(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Se Young Lee; additional reporting by Haejin Choi in SEOUL; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Kim Coghill)

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