Tiangong-2

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Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory
天宫二号空间实验室
Tianzhou-1 and Tiangong-2 rendering.jpg
A rendering of Tianzhou 1 (left) docked to Tiangong-2.
Station statistics
COSPAR ID 2016-057A
SATCAT no. 41765
Crew2 (from Shenzhou 11)
19 October – 17 November 2016
Launch 15 September 2016,
14:04:09 UTC
Carrier rocket Long March 2F/G
Launch pad Jiuquan, LA-4 / SLS-1
Reentry 19 July 2019
Mass 8,600 kg (19,000 lb)
Length10.4 m (34 ft)
Diameter3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Pressurised volume 14 m3 (490 cu ft)
Periapsis altitude 369.65 km (229.69 mi)
Apoapsis altitude 378.4 km (235.1 mi)
Orbital inclination 42.79°
Orbital speed7.68 km/s (4.77 mi/s)
Orbital period 92.0 minutes
Days occupied26 days 11.3 hours
Statistics as of 22 September 2016
References: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The China Manned Space Engineering Office published a brief description of Tiangong-2 and its successor Tiangong-3 in 2008, indicating that at least two crewed spaceships would be launched to dock with Tiangong-2. [2]

Tiangong-2 was originally expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency (CNSA) by 2015 [11] to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011. [12] In March 2011, Chinese officials stated that Tiangong-2 was scheduled to be launched by 2015. [11] [13] An uncrewed cargo spacecraft will dock with the station, [11] allowing for resupply. [14]

In September 2014, its launch was postponed to September 2016. [15] Plans for visits in October 2016 by the crewed mission Shenzhou 11 and the uncrewed resupply craft Tianzhou were made public. [16] The station was successfully launched from Jiuquan aboard a Long March 2F rocket on 15 September 2016. [17] Shenzhou 11 (Only Expedition) successfully docked with Tiangong-2 on 19 October 2016. [18]

Aboard the Shenzhou 11, launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, were Commander Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong who formed the inaugural crew for the space laboratory. [19] It was China's first crewed mission for more than three years.

During the 30 days the two astronauts were aboard Tiangong-2, they conducted a number of scientific and technical experiments on the physiological effects of weightlessness, tests on human-machine collaboration on in-orbit maintenance technology and released an accompanying satellite successfully. Accompanying photography and near-distance fly-by observation were also carried out. They collected abundant data and made some achievements in programs of gamma-ray burst polarimeter, space cold atomic clock and preparation of new materials. [20]

Shenzhou 11 separated from the orbiting Tiangong-2 space laboratory on 17 November 2016, reentry module landed successfully at the expected site in central Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 13:59 Beijing Time. [20]

On 22 April 2017, the cargo vessel Tianzhou-1 successfully docked with Tiangong-2 marking the first successful docking and refuelling with the orbiting space laboratory. [21] It subsequently performed a second docking and refueling on 15 June 2017. On 12 September 2017, Tianzhou-1 performed the third and final docking and refuelling with Tiangong-2, with what is termed a fast docking which took 6.5 hours, rather than 2 days, to complete. [22]

In June 2018, Tiangong-2 performed orbital maneuvers lowering the orbit to 292 × 297 kilometers, likely in preparation for deorbiting. It then returned to its usual orbit. [23] [24]

In July 2019, the China Manned Space Engineering Office announced that it was planning to deorbit Tiangong-2 in the near future, but no specific date was given. [25] The station subsequently made a controlled reentry on 19 July 2019 and burned up over the South Pacific Ocean. [26]

Dimensions

The dimensions of Tiangong-2 were:

Further developments

Tianhe is the core module of the Chinese space station. The core module and its other parts are to be launched between 2021 and 2022.

See also

Related Research Articles

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A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a human crew in orbit for an extended period of time and is therefore a type of space habitat. It lacks major propulsion or landing systems. An orbital station or an orbital space station is an artificial satellite. Stations must have docking ports to allow other spacecraft to dock to transfer crew and supplies. The purpose of maintaining an orbital outpost varies depending on the program. Space stations have most often been launched for scientific purposes, but military launches have also occurred.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiangong program</span> Space station program of the Peoples Republic of China

The Tiangong program is China's space program to create a modular space station, comparable to Mir. This program is independent and unconnected to any other international space-active countries. The program is part of the China Manned Space Program that began in 1992. The core module, the Tianhe was finally launched on 29 April 2021 marking the start of the Tiangong Space program deployment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiangong space station</span> Chinese space station in low Earth orbit

Tiangong, officially the Tiangong space station, is a permanently crewed space station constructed by China and operated by China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km above the surface. It is China's first long-term space station, part of the Tiangong program and the core of the "Third Step" of the China Manned Space Program (CMS); it has a pressurised volume of 340 m³, slightly over one third the size of the International Space Station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 8</span> 2011 Chinese uncrewed spaceflight to Tiangong-1

Shenzhou 8 was an uncrewed flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched on 31 October 2011 UTC, or 1 November 2011 in China, by a Long March 2F rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 10</span> 2013 Chinese crewed spaceflight to Tiangong-1

Shenzhou 10 was a crewed spaceflight of China's Shenzhou program that was launched on 11 June 2013. It was China's fifth crewed space mission. The mission had a crew of three astronauts: Nie Haisheng, who was mission commander and previously flew on Shenzhou 6; Zhang Xiaoguang, a former PLAAF squadron commander who conducted the rendezvous and docking; and Wang Yaping, the second Chinese female astronaut. The Shenzhou spacecraft docked with the Tiangong-1 trial space laboratory module on 13 June, and the astronauts performed physical, technological, and scientific experiments while on board. Shenzhou 10 was the 2nd and final expedition and mission to Tiangong-1 in this portion of the Tiangong program. On 26 June 2013, after a series of successful docking tests, Shenzhou 10 returned to Earth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">China Manned Space Program</span> Spaceflight programme in China

The China Manned Space Program, also known as Project 921 is a space program developed by the People's Republic of China and run by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), designed to develop and enhance human spaceflight capabilities for China. It was approved on 21 September 1992 and has been in operation ever since. The CMS commander and director are currently Xu Xueqiang and Zhou Jianping respectively; the latter has held this position since 2006, after taking over from Wang Yongzhi, who served as the first director from 1992 to 2006.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiangong-1</span> Chinese prototype space station in orbit from 2011 to 2018

Tiangong-1 was China's first prototype space station. It orbited Earth from September 2011 to April 2018, serving as both a crewed laboratory and an experimental testbed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities during its two years of active operational life.

<i>Tianhe</i> core module Module of the Tiangong space station

Tianhe, officially the Tianhe core module, is the first module to launch of the Tiangong space station. It was launched into orbit on 29 April 2021, as the first launch of the final phase of Tiangong program, part of the China Manned Space Program.

The Chinese Docking Mechanism is a spacecraft docking mechanism based on the Androgynous Peripheral Attach System (APAS). There have been contradicting reports by the Chinese on its compatibility with APAS. It is used by Shenzhou spacecraft, beginning with an uncrewed Shenzhou 8, to dock to Tiangong-1. Subsequent crewed missions docked with the Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 and the Tiangong space station. Similar docking mechanism was also introduced to the Tianzhou cargo spacecraft. Tianzhou 1 was the first cargo spacecraft which docked with the Tiangong-2. It has a circular transfer passage that has a diameter of 800 mm (31 in). The androgynous variant has a mass of 310 kg and the non-androgynous variant has a mass of 200 kg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 11</span> 2016 Chinese crewed spaceflight to Tiangong-2

Shenzhou 11 was a crewed spaceflight of the Shenzhou program of China, launched on 17 October 2016 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. It was China's sixth crewed space mission, at 33 days, it was the longest until the follow up Shenzhou 12 mission which lasted 3 months. Two days after launch, it docked with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, which had been launched on 15 September 2016. Shenzhou 11 was the 1st and only expedition and mission to Tiangong-2 in this portion of the Tiangong program.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tianzhou 1</span> 2017 Chinese resupply spaceflight to Tiangong-2

Tianzhou 1 was the debut mission of the Tianzhou-class uncrewed cargo spacecraft. It was developed as part of the crewed space program of China. Tianzhou means "heavenly vessel" in Chinese. On 20 April 2017, Tianzhou 1 was launched by rocket Long March 7 at China Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site. It successfully docked with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory on 22 April 2017 at 12:16 (UTC+8). Tianzhou 1 was deorbited on 22 September 2017. It plunged into Earth's atmosphere and burned up after a set of braking maneuvers under ground control.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tianzhou (spacecraft)</span>

The Tianzhou is a Chinese automated cargo spacecraft developed from China's first prototype space station Tiangong-1 to resupply its modular space station. It was first launched on the Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang on April 20, 2017 and demonstrated autonomous propellant transfer.

<i>Mengtian</i> module Module of the Tiangong Space Station

Mengtian, officially the Mengtian laboratory cabin module, is a major module of the Tiangong space station. It is the second Laboratory Cabin Module launched, after Wentian, and the second module to extend the existing Tianhe core module of the station. It was launched into orbit from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on 31 October 2022, successfully docking with Tianhe forward port at 20:27 UTC on the same day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tianzhou 2</span> 2021 Chinese resupply spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Tianzhou 2 was a mission of the Tianzhou-class unmanned cargo spacecraft. The launch took place at 29 May 2021, 12:55:29 UTC. The spacecraft successfully docked with the Tiangong space station later on the same day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 13</span> 2021 Chinese crewed spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Shenzhou 13 was a Chinese spaceflight launched on 15 October 2021 at 16:23 UTC. The flight marked the eighth crewed Chinese spaceflight and the thirteenth flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) taikonauts on the second flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Tiangong space station. The launch of the three-person crew with a Long March-2F launch vehicle took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 12</span> 2021 Chinese crewed spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Shenzhou 12 was a Chinese spaceflight launched on 17 June 2021. The flight marked the seventh crewed Chinese spaceflight and the twelfth flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three members of the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) on the first flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Tiangong space station. This was the first Chinese crewed spaceflight since Shenzhou 11 in 2016.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tianzhou 4</span> 2022 Chinese resupply spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Tianzhou 4 was the fourth mission of the Tianzhou-class unmanned cargo spacecraft, and the third resupply mission to Tiangong Space Station carrying 5 tons of cargos and 1 ton of propellant. It is the largest load capacity cargo spacecraft that is on active duty. It launched on 9 May 2022, docking successfully with the Tiangong space station at the aft port 6 hours after launch. Like previous Tianzhou missions, the spacecraft launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan, China on a Long March 7 rocket.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 14</span> 2022 Chinese crewed spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Shenzhou 14 was a Chinese spaceflight that launched on 5 June 2022 at 02:44 UTC. The flight marked the ninth crewed Chinese spaceflight and the fourteenth flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) taikonauts on the third flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Tiangong space station. The launch of the three-person crew with a Long March 2F launch vehicle took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shenzhou 15</span> 2022 Chinese crewed spaceflight to the Tiangong Space Station

Shenzhou 15 is a Chinese spaceflight that launched on 29 November 2022, at 15:08 UTC. The flight marked the tenth crewed Chinese spaceflight and the fifteenth flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) taikonauts on the fourth flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Tiangong space station. The launch of the three-person crew with a Long March 2F launch vehicle took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 Branigan, Tania; Sample, Ian (26 April 2011). "China unveils rival to International Space Station". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 April 2011. China often chooses poetic names for its space projects, such as Chang'e – after the moon goddess – for its lunar probes; its rocket series, however, is named Long March, in tribute to communist history. The space station project is currently referred to as Tiangong, or "heavenly palace".
  3. huaxia, ed. (16 September 2016). "Tiangong-2 takes China one step closer to space station". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
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  5. Hunt, Katie; Bloom, Deborah (15 September 2016). "China launches Tiangong-2 space lab". CNN News. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  6. "Space-Track.Org API Access". space-track.org. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  7. de Selding, Peter B. (20 June 2016). "China prepares assembly of its space station, invites collaboration through U.N." SpaceNews.
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  9. "China launches first module of new space station". BBC News. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  10. China to begin construction of manned space station in 2019 Reuters 28 April 2017
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  12. "Tiangong-1 launch betrays China's earthly ambitions" BBC News 29 September 2011 Retrieved 21 November 2011
  13. 1 2 David, Leonard (11 March 2011). "China Details Ambitious Space Station Goals". SPACE.com. Retrieved 9 March 2011. China is ready to carry out a multiphase construction program that leads to the large space station around 2020. As a prelude to building that facility, China is set to loft the Tiangong-1 module this year as a platform to help master key rendezvous and docking technologies.
  14. "China manned spaceflight program" The Space Review 15 October 2009 Retrieved 21 November 2011
  15. Morris Jones (11 September 2014). "China's Space Station is Still on Track". SpaceDaily.
  16. "China to launch second space lab in 2016: official". SpaceDaily. AFP. 10 September 2014.
  17. "China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab". CCTV News. 15 September 2016.
  18. "China's Shenzhou-11 successfully docks with Tiangong-2 spacelab". CCTV America. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  19. Clark, Stuart (20 October 2016). "Two crewed space stations now orbiting Earth". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  20. 1 2 "SCIO briefing on China's Tiangong 2 and Shenzhou 11 manned space mission". China.org.cn. 19 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  21. "Tiangong-2: China's first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab". The Guardian. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  22. "China's Tianzhou-1 cargo craft and Tiangong-2 space laboratory perform final orbital docking". GB Times. 12 September 2017. Archived from the original on 15 August 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  23. Andrew Jones (20 June 2018). "China appears to be preparing to deorbit its Tiangong 2 space lab". SpaceNews.
  24. Michelle Starr (25 June 2018). "China's Space Station Got Weirdly Close to Earth For a Few Days and the Government Isn't Talking". Science Alert.
  25. Jones, Andrew (12 July 2019). "China set to carry out controlled deorbiting of Tiangong-2 space lab". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  26. Liptak, Andrew (20 July 2019). "China has deorbited its experimental space station". The Verge. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
Tiangong-2
Simplified Chinese 天宫二号
Traditional Chinese 天宮二號
Literal meaningCelestial Palace-2 or Heavenly Palace-2