Tiangong-2

Last updated

Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory
天宫二号空间实验室
Model of the Chinese Tiangong Shenzhou.jpg
A display model of Tiangong-1 docked to the Shenzhou spacecraft.
Station statistics
COSPAR ID 2016-057A
SATCAT no. 41765
Crew2 (from Shenzhou 11, 19 October 2016 – 17 November 2016)
Launch 15 September 2016, 22:04:09 (UTC+8)
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) [1]
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 minutes
Days occupied26 days 11.3 hours
Statistics as of 2016-09-22 00:00:00 UTC
References: [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Tiangong-2
Simplified Chinese 天宫二号
Traditional Chinese 天宮二號
Literal meaningCelestial Palace-2 or Heavenly Palace-2
Space Laboratory
Simplified Chinese 空间实验室
Traditional Chinese 空間實驗室
Literal meaningSpace Laboratory

Tiangong-2 (Chinese : ; pinyin :Tiāngōng èrhào; lit. 'Celestial Palace 2') was a Chinese space laboratory and part of the Project 921-2 space station program. Tiangong-2 was launched on 15 September 2016. [7] It was deorbited as planned on 19 July 2019. [8]

Contents

Tiangong-2 was neither designed nor planned to be a permanent orbital station; rather, it is intended as a testbed for key technologies that will be used in the Chinese large modular space station, which is planned for launch between 2020 and 2022. [9]

History

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 by 2015 [10] to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011. [11] In March 2011, Chinese officials stated that Tiangong-2 was scheduled to be launched by 2015. [10] [12] An uncrewed cargo spacecraft will dock with the station, [10] allowing for resupply. [13]

In September 2014, its launch was postponed to September 2016. [14] Plans for visits in October 2016 by the crewed mission Shenzhou 11 and the uncrewed resupply craft Tianzhou were made public. [15] The station was successfully launched from Jiuquan aboard a Long March 2F rocket on 15 September 2016. [16] Shenzhou 11 successfully docked with Tiangong-2 on 19 October 2016. [17]

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. [18] 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. [19]

Shenzhou 11 separated from the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab on 17 November, reentry module landed successfully at the expected site in central Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 13:59 Beijing Time. [19]

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. [20] 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. [21]

In June 2018, Tiangong-2 performed orbital maneuvers lowering the orbit to 292 × 297 kilometers, likely in preparation for deorbiting. It has since returned to its usual orbit. [22] [23]

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. [24] The station subsequently made a controlled reentry on 19 July and burned up over the South Pacific Ocean. [25]

Dimensions

The dimensions of Tiangong-2 were:

Further developments

Tiānhé-1 is the core module of a planned modular space station. The core module and its other parts are to be launched between 2020 and 2022.

See also

Related Research Articles

Space station Habitable artificial satellite

A space station, also known as an orbital station or an orbital space station, is a spacecraft capable of supporting a human crew in orbit for an extended period of time. It lacks major propulsion or landing systems. Stations must have docking ports to allow other spacecraft to dock to transfer crew and supplies.

The Long March 2F, also known as the CZ-2F, LM-2F and Shenjian, is a Chinese orbital carrier rocket, part of the Long March 2 rocket family. Designed to launch crewed Shenzhou (spacecraft), the Long March 2F is a human-rated two-stage version of the Long March 2E rocket, which in turn was based on the Long March 2C launch vehicle. It is launched from complex SLS at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The Long March 2F made its maiden flight on 19 November 1999, with the Shenzhou 1 spacecraft. After the flight of Shenzhou 3, CPC General Secretary and President Jiang Zemin named the rocket 'Shenjian' meaning 'Divine Arrow'.

Chinese space program Space program of the Peoples Republic of China

The space program of the People's Republic of China is directed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Its technological roots can be traced back to the late 1950s, when China began a ballistic missile program in response to perceived American threats. However, the first Chinese crewed space program only began several decades later, when an accelerated program of technological development culminated in Yang Liwei's successful 2003 flight aboard Shenzhou 5. This achievement made China the third country to independently send humans into space. Plans currently include a permanent Chinese space station in 2022 and crewed expeditions to the Moon.

Shenzhou 1 launched on 19 November 1999, was the first unmanned launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. The spacecraft used was not equipped with a life support system or an emergency escape system. After orbiting the Earth 14 times, the command for retrofire was sent by the Yuan Wang 3 tracking ship off the coast of Namibia at 18:49 UTC. After a successful reentry it landed about 415 kilometres (258 mi) east of its launch pad and 110 kilometres (68 mi) north-west of Wuhai, Inner Mongolia.

Tiangong program Space station program of the Peoples Republic of China

Tiangong is a space station program of the People's Republic of China, with the goal of creating a modular space station, comparable to Mir. This program is independent and unconnected to any other international space-active countries. The program began in 1992 as Project 921-2. As of January 2013, China moved forward on a large multiphase construction program that will lead to a large space station around 2020.

Chinese large modular space station Planned space station to be placed in Low Earth orbit

The Chinese large modular space station is a planned space station to be placed in Low Earth orbit. The planned Chinese Space Station will be roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station. The Chinese station is expected to have a mass between 80 and 100 tonnes. Operations will be controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center in China. The planned launch date of the core module, the Tianhe, is 2021. In 2017, the Chinese launched the Tianzhou-1 cargo spaceship, which is based on the Tiangong 1 and 2 space laboratories.

Shenzhou 8 Eighth launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft

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.

Shenzhou 9

Shenzhou 9 was the fourth crewed spacecraft flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched at 18:37:24 CST, 16 June 2012. Shenzhou 9 was the second spacecraft and first crewed spacecraft to dock with the Tiangong 1 space station, which took place on 18 June. The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft landed at 10:01:16 CST on 29 June in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The mission's crew included the first Chinese female astronaut, Liu Yang. The next mission was Shenzhou 10, which launched on 11 June 2013.

Shenzhou 10

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 final 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.

The Shenzhou program is a crewed spaceflight initiative by People's Republic of China. The program put the first Chinese citizen, Yang Liwei, into orbit on 15 October 2003.

Several Asian national space programs are engaged in a race to achieve the scientific and technological advancements necessary for regular spaceflight, as well as to reap the strategic and economic benefits of space capability. This is sometimes referred to as the "Asian space race" in popular media, an allusion to the Cold-War-era Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Tiangong-1 Chinese prototype space station

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.

Tiangong-3 was a proposed Chinese space station, part of the Tiangong space station program. The China National Space Agency was originally expected to launch Tiangong-3 around 2015, following the launch of the Tiangong-2 test laboratory, originally planned for 2013. The goals for the Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 laboratories were eventually merged, and the latter was therefore not ordered.

Docking and berthing of spacecraft Joining of two or more space vehicles

Docking and berthing of spacecraft is the joining of two space vehicles. This connection can be temporary, or partially permanent such as for space station modules.

Tianhe (space station module) Component of Chinas space station

The Tianhe, code name TH, or Core Cabin Module (CCM) is the foundation element of the Chinese space station, as the final stage of Project 921 Tiangong program, part of the Chinese space program. The CCM follows the Salyut and Almaz series, Cosmos 557, Skylab, Mir, ISS, Tiangong 1 and Tiangong 2 space stations. It is the first part of a third generation modular space station. Other examples of modular station projects include the Soviet/Russian Mir, Russian OPSEK, and the International Space Station. Operations will be controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center in the People's Republic of China. In 2018 fullscale mockup of CCM was publicly presented at China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai. In October 2020, China selected 18 new astronauts ahead of space station construction to participate in the country’s upcoming space station project.

Shenzhou 11

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, and its longest to date, at 33 days. Two days after launch, it docked with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, which had been launched on September 15, 2016.

Tianzhou 1

Tianzhou 1 was the debut mission of the Tianzhou-class unmanned cargo spacecraft. It was developed as part of the manned 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.

Tianzhou (spacecraft)

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

Shenzhou 12

Shenzhou 12 is a Chinese spaceflight planned to launch no earlier than 2021. The flight will mark the seventh crewed Chinese spaceflight and the seventh crewed flight of the Shenzhou programme. The spacecraft is scheduled to carry two to three CNSA Taikonauts on the first flight to Tianhe-1, the first module of the Chinese large modular space station, scheduled for launch on a Long March 5B rocket sometime in 2021

References

  1. https://chinaspacereport.com/spacecraft/tiangong2/
  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. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  4. 1 2 huaxia, ed. (16 September 2016). "Tiangong-2 space lab may exceed 5 years service life: expert". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  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." Space News.
  8. https://spacenews.com/china-set-to-carry-out-controlled-deorbiting-of-tiangong-2-space-lab/
  9. China to begin construction of manned space station in 2019 Reuters 28 April 2017
  10. 1 2 3 "China to launch Tiangong-2 and cargo spacecraft in 2015". GB Times. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  11. "Tiangong-1 launch betrays China's earthly ambitions". BBC. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  12. 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.
  13. "China manned spaceflight program" (PDF). The Space Review. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  14. Morris Jones (11 September 2014). "China's Space Station is Still on Track". SpaceDaily.
  15. AFP (10 September 2014). "China to launch second space lab in 2016: official". SpaceDaily.
  16. "China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab". CCTV News. 15 September 2016.
  17. "China's Shenzhou-11 successfully docks with Tiangong-2 spacelab". CCTV America. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  18. Clark, Stuart (20 October 2016). "Two crewed space stations now orbiting Earth". The Guardian . ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  19. 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.
  20. "Tiangong-2: China's first cargo spacecraft docks with orbiting space lab". The Guardian. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  21. "China's Tianzhou-1 cargo craft and Tiangong-2 space lab perform final orbital docking". GBTimes. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  22. Andrew Jones (20 June 2018). "China appears to be preparing to deorbit its Tiangong 2 space lab". Spacenews.
  23. 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.
  24. Jones, Andrew (12 July 2019). "China set to carry out controlled deorbiting of Tiangong-2 space lab". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  25. Liptak, Andrew (20 July 2019). "China has deorbited its experimental space station". The Verge . Retrieved 21 July 2019.