Tiangong-2 delivered to launch site, to perform more tasks

2016-07-10 18:56:03 | From:http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/07/10/4001s933705.htm

China's second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2. [File Photo: sznews.com]

China's second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 has been delivered to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for final preparations.

It will now be assembled and tested ahead of its scheduled launch later this year.

Scientists have designed the Tiangong-2 to carry out more challenging tasks than its predecessor, and is expected to help China's space mission make its next big leap.

CRI's Fu Yu has more.


According to a statement from China's manned space engineering office, the Tiangong-2 will be capable of receiving manned and cargo spaceships, and will be a testing place for systems and processes for mid-term space stays and refueling in space.

It will also be involved in experiments on aerospace medicine, space sciences, in-orbit maintenance and space station technologies.

China's first space lab Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011 had a designed life of two years, ended its data service earlier this year. It will eventually descend into the atmosphere and burn up.

Scientists have made a considerable number of upgrades to the Tiangong-2 so it can fulfill the new duties expected of it.

Liao Jianlin is deputy chief designer of space lab systems at China's Aerospace Science and Technology corporation.

""Tiangong-2 is not simply a duplicate of Tiangong-1. We've made a lot of changes to take into consideration its missions, that will include medium-term stays for astronauts. We have made some design changes to improve the comfort levels for the astronauts inside the airtight cabin."

Liao also reveals that Tiangong-2 is equipped to dock with China's first cargo spaceship Tianzhou-1, to perform various in-orbit tasks.

"One mission is to verify the key technology of in-orbit propellant refilling. Another is to conduct experiments of space applications and in-orbit repair for subsequent space stations, as space stations of the future, will fly longer in orbit and therefore have lots of things in need of repair and replacement. So, we we have set up a special in-orbit repair system on Tiangong-2."

Assembly and tests will begin at the center ahead of the lab's launch scheduled for mid-September. The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which will carry two astronauts to dock with Tiangong-2 in space, has passed its initial tests, and its crew members are undergoing intensive training. "

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