Chinese space station Tiangong-1 avoids lonely death in 'spacecraft cemetery'

China's doomed space station has plummeted to Earth, reaching its final resting place in the ocean near Tahiti on Monday.

The Tiangong-1 just managed to miss the graveyard that junk often crashes into, only narrowly avoiding a lonely death in the world's 'spacecraft cemetery'.

This area is Point Nemo - also known as the "Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility" - and is farther from land than any other place on Earth.

Because of this, it's used as the re-entry place for defunct satellites and spacecraft. It's the home to the largest collection of space-junk on Earth.

"There's going to be places on the Earth's surface where you would try to ditch a spacecraft under controlled conditions," Dr Nicholas Rattenbury, senior lecturer in physics at the University of Auckland, told Newshub.

"I suspect that this region... is one of those."

Hundreds of unwanted spacecraft have been sent to die there over the years, dating back to the 1970s.

Beneath the ocean's surface lies everything from space stations to spy satellites. The largest is Russia's MIR space station, which landed in a controlled atmospheric re-entry in 2001.

"It is routinely used nowadays by the (Russian) Progress capsules, which go back and forth to the International Space Station," European Space Agency space debris expert Stijn Lemmens told AFP.