As of September 2018, a Chinese space station called Tiangong-2 is in orbit. It was launched in 2016 and is expected to remain operational until 2020. Tiangong-2 is a small space station with a mass of only 8,600 kilograms (19,000 lb). It has two modules: the core module and the experiment module. The core module is equipped with four solar panels that generate 2.5 kilowatts of power. The experiment module has three solar panels that generate 1.5 kilowatts of power.Tiangong-2 is used for conducting scientific experiments, testing systems and technologies for China’s planned larger space station, and training astronauts. China plans to launch its larger space station, called Tiangong-3, in 2022. That station will have a mass of about 60,000 kilograms (130,000 lb) and will be larger than Tiangong-2. It will have three modules: a core module, an experiment module, and a service module. Tiangong-3 will be equipped with 14 solar panels that generate about 50 kilowatts of power. China has also plans to launch a manned lunar mission in 2028. The Chinese space station program is part of China’s larger space exploration program which includes plans for human missions to Mars in the 2030s.
China and the Launching Chinese Space station
China has been launching space stations for over two decades. The first one, Tiangong-1, was launched in September of 2011. Tiangong-1 was a small prototype station that orbited the Earth for two years before reentering the atmosphere and burning up.
In March of 2016, China launched its second space station, Tianzhou-1. Unlike Tiangong-1, which was only meant to be used for testing purposes, Tianzhou-1 was actually a functional space station. It docked with the Tiangong-2 space station in October of 2017 and remained there until April of 2018 when it was deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere.
The Tiangong-2 space station is currently the only operational Chinese space station. It has been in orbit since September of 2016 and is expected to remain there until 2022. It is used as a research laboratory for conducting experiments in microgravity.
In May of 2020, China launched its third space station, Tianhe-1. Tianhe-1 is the core module of the planned Chinese Space Station, which is expected to be completed by 2022. When finished, it will be about one-sixth the size of the International Space Station and will be able to accommodate up to three astronauts at a time.
The background of the Chinese space station
The Chinese space station, named Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”), is a prototype for China’s planned modular space station. It was launched on September 29, 2011, and hosted two crewed missions, Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10, in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Following the end of its operational lifespan, the space station began to degrade in orbit and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in 2018. China has stated that they plan to launch a larger, permanent space station around 2022.
The Chinese space station is one of three currently operational manned spacecraft, alongside the International Space Station and Russia’s Mir space station. As of 2019, it is the only space station being actively used by China. The space station is managed by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), which is part of the larger China National Space Administration (CNSA). The construction of the space station is a major undertaking for China; it is their most complex spacecraft to date.
The Chinese space station was originally planned as a small, experimental station, but its design and size have gradually grown over time. The core module, Tianhe (“Galaxy”), is 10 metres long and has a diameter of 3.35 metres. It has a mass of 18,000 kilograms. The space station also has two other experiment modules, Weiyuan (“Pilot”) and Wentian (“Heavenly Bed”). These modules were added in 2013 and have masses of 2,600 and 4,800 kilograms respectively. The space station is designed for a crew of three astronauts but can accommodate up to six.
The space station was originally planned to be launched in 2015, but its launch was delayed due to problems with the Long March 5 rocket. The space station’s maiden voyage occurred on September 29, 2011, when it was launched into low Earth orbit by a Long March 2F rocket. The space station hosted two crewed missions, Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10, in 2012 and 2013 respectively. These missions consisted of three astronauts each and lasted for 12 and 15 days respectively.