Tiangong-1's demise was confirmed by the China Manned Space Engineering Office and separately by US Strategic Command, with help from "counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom." The event was largely publicised due to misplaced fear that the craft could land on a heavily populated city or town. In truth, this was always highly unlikely — the Earth is mostly ocean, and humanity occupies a relatively small part of the green bits. Still, a human collision was possible, and Tiangong-1's large size (it was 10.4 metres long and weighed 18,740 pounds) was an understandable concern.
The space craft, known as "Heavenly Palace 1," was launched in 2011 as a testbed for orbiting and docking experiments. Two astronaut crews visited the station using Shenzhou capsules in 2012 and 2013; the first mission included Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space. China's long-term plan is to have a larger, modular station in orbit by 2023, and originally planned to decommission Tiangong-1 by 2013. That didn't happen, however — possibly because Tiangong-2 wasn't ready — and in 2016, the country's space agency told the UN that it had lost control of the vessel.