Tiangong 1, China’s first space laboratory, will come to a fiery end in late 2017. The average decommissioned satellite either burns up over a specific ocean region, or is ejected to a far-off orbital graveyard. But Tiangong 1’s demise is shaping up to be something different.

Chinese officials appeared to admit that they had lost control of the station during a Sept. 14 news conference in Jiuquan.

“Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling,” said Wu Ping, a director at China’s space engineering office, during the conference. A day later China launched Tiangong 2, the lab’s successor, aboard a Long March 7 rocket.

Wu added that China is monitoring the space station for collisions with other objects. And Xinhua, China’s government-run news agency, reported that the Chinese space agency may need to release an international forecast for where Tiangong will land at a later date – an uncertainty that seems to indicate the descent is uncontrolled.

For the moment Tiangong 1 remains whole, currently orbiting the planet more than 200 miles above Earth’s surface. China launched Tiangong 1, which translates to “Heavenly Palace,” in 2011. It served as China’s base of space experiments for roughly 41/2 years, two years longer than originally anticipated. The last crewed mission was in 2013, though the station continued to autonomously operate until it was decommissioned in March 2016.

Soon after, rumors surfaced that China no longer had control of the spacecraft. In June, amateur satellite tracker Thomas Dorman, from El Paso, warned Space.com that the 8-ton space lab was out of control.

Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell agreed that China’s announcement indicated the spacecraft will fall where it may.