- China takes yet another step towards having its own manned space station
- The Tiangong-2 lifted off from China’s launch center in the Gobi desert
- The original plan was for Tiangong-2 to be launched at the end of 2013
Sept 16, 2016: The Tiangong-2 or Heavenly Palace-2 was launched on Thursday pushing forward China’s plans of having its own manned space station. The launch is conducted by a Long March 2F – took place at exactly 14:04 UTC.
The new orbital outpost will enable the crews to remain in orbit for 30-day mission which is crucial for China as the Xinhua news agency reported that this mission will be will be followed by a mission to carry two astronauts to the space lab in mid- to late-October for 30 days and later China will send its first cargo ship to the lab in April. A fully functional space station is envisioned by 2022, mentioned VOA.
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According to VOA reports, if Tiangong-2 sets successfully once in orbit, Tiangong-2 will maneuver itself into an orbit about 380 kilometers above the Earth for initial tests. It will then transfer to a slightly higher orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth when Shenzhou-11 will ferry two astronauts to the lab next October.
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The 8.6 ton Tiangong-2, measuring about 10 x 3 meters, is also replacing Tiangong-1 launched in 2011 and will orbit at a height of 393-kilometers above the earth.
This launch is indeed marking an important step forward towards China’s mission of a space station.
– Prepared by Anubhuti Gupta of Newsgram. Twitter: @anuB_11