A new chapter for China’s manned space program: The Tiangong-2 space laboratory successfully lifted off on Sept 15.
Twenty-four years after the country launched its manned space program, the Long March 2f rocket, with Tiangong-2 on board, ignited the sky above the Gobi Desert.
The new space lab will be used to conduct various experiments in the fields of aerospace medicine, space science, and on-orbit maintenance. It is capable of receiving manned spacecraft and cargo ship for propellants resupply. Most important, it will test the waters for China’s future space program.
“The living quarters of the new space lab have been improved to allow for mid-term in-orbit stays. Two astronauts can stay there for 30 days without needing to be resupplied,” said Wu Ping, deputy director of the office of China’s Manned Space Program.
Since launching its first manned space mission in 2003, China has staged a spacewalk, landed a rover on the moon, and launched a demo space station Tiangong-1 in 2011. Today, the successful launch of Tiangong-2 space lab helps turn the Chinese dream of space exploration into reality.