China's Tianzhou-1 space freighter has reentered the Earth's atmosphere following five months in orbit testing refuelling techniques in microgravity and carrying out experiments.
China's first cargo spacecraft left orbit at 18:00 Beijing time on Friday (10:00 UTC), following commands from the ground.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSE) had earlier released a statement that the spacecraft would be deorbited over September 22-23.
Tianzhou-1 was launched on April 20 in order to dock with the already orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab and verify technologies for refuelling in microgravity and delivering supplies required to maintain the planned modular Chinese Space Station.
After three successful refuelling tests and periods of free flight to carry out experiments, Tianzhou-1 used its own propulsion systems to move from an orbit of 390 km above the Earth, re-enter the atmosphere and burn up over the South Pacific.
Apparent footage from Tianzhou-1 as it reentered the atmosphere on September 22, 2017.
Wang Zhaoyao, director of CMSE, told CCTV that the mission was a great success.
"It completed a fast space docking and the verifications of some key technologies for the construction of future space stations. Meanwhile, [we] conducted a series of extended experiments and applications including non-Newtonian gravity experimentation and the testing of a vibration suppressing device, and [we] made abundant achievements," Wang said.
The 13.5 tonne Tianzhou-1 spacecraft was China's largest so far, and will remain so until the core module of the future Chinese Space Station is launched around 2019.
"This mission bears great meaning of following the past and opening up opportunities for the future, and it means lot for the operation and construction of our space station," Wang added.
Tiangong-2, which was launched on September 15, 2016, last week marked one year in orbit and will continue to orbit alone after the Tianzhou-1 mission.
Tianzhou-1 undocks from Tiangong-2 on September 17, 2017.