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China's 'Palace in the sky' space station complete after successful launch
by Joe Fisher
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 01, 2022

The third and final module for China's Tiangong Space Station arrived after a 13-hour trip to Earth's lower orbit Monday.

China successfully launched the third and final module needed to complete the Tiangong Space Station.

The Chinese National Space Administration announced its Mengtian module arrived in low Earth orbit after a 13-hour voyage. Mengtian was carried to orbit by a Long March 5B, which was designed specifically to launch the Tiangong modules into space.

Mengtian, which translates to "Dreams of Heaven," will house experimentation in microgravity, fluid physics, materials science, combustion science, fundamental physics, plus even more research. Mengtian's docking with the space station brings a project approved 30 years ago to fruition. It joins its predecessors Tianhe and Wentian.

Tiangong will be home to three astronauts at a time for periods of six months, or six crew members during handovers. Three astronauts were sent to the station in June. Their shift will end in December.

China has plans for 15 years of operations on Tiangong, called the "Palace in the sky." It plans to send two crewed missions and two cargo missions to the station every year during that span.

Tiangong's uses could go beyond research. Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, said there is a possibility the station will be used for tourism sometime in the future. It will also be home to Xuntian, a powerful space telescope capable of observing distant galaxies. Its features make it comparable to the Hubble Space Telescope, but with a field of view 350 times wider. The telescope is slated to arrive sometime in 2023.

The completion of Tiangong is exciting news, but the launch of the three modules does not come without incident. Previously launched Long March 5B rockets have made uncontrolled reentries into Earth's atmosphere up to a week after launch. Debris was observed descending to Earth in Malaysia in August, serving as a reminder of potential threats to safety.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
China Manned Space Agency
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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Final module docks at China's Tiangong space station
Beijing (AFP) Oct 31, 2022
The final module of China's Tiangong space station successfully docked with the core structure on Tuesday, state media said - a key step in its completion by year's end and a landmark moment in the country's space ambitions. Tiangong is one of the crown jewels in Beijing's well-funded programme - which has landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon, and made the country only the third to put humans in orbit - as it looks to catch up with major spacefaring powers like the United States and Russia. ... read more

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