Two of China’s space labs are heading towards completely opposite fates – one is getting ready for its beginning of a series of experiments, while the other is heading towards its doom.
China’s space agency revealed in statement recently that its latest space lab is doing good and that it has entered its preset orbit 393 km above Earth. On the other hand its first generation space lab – the Tiangong-1 will be heading towards it eminent destruction towards the latter half of the year 2017 when it enters Earth’s atmosphere only to burn up.
China has been making a huge headway in space with a number of missions and technological advancements. The message is clear – it wants to ensure that it doesn’t get left behind other nations in the space race. With Tiangong-1 China proved that it has the potential of not only designing, building, and launching a space lab, but also has the potential of operating it for years together.
Tiangong-2 is set to achieve greater goals and details made available by the Chinese space agency indicate that the Tiangong-2 space lab has been maneuvered to its preset orbit 393 kilometers above Earth’s surface, in preparation for a planned docking with the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft set to launch next month.
Earlier this month, the Tiangong-2 was launched aboard country’s Long March-2F T2 rocket. The space lab has already gone through nine days of on-orbit testing before Sunday’s maneuver and results indicate that the space lab is in a good condition. The Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft is expected to carry two astronauts into space to dock with the Tiangong-2 in October. The astronauts will work in the lab for 30 days before returning to Earth.
The space agency has also revealed that the docking of the spacecraft will be the country’s first-ever simulation of future space station docking technologies, which will see the manned spacecraft “catching up with the space station using its own space maneuvering capacities.”
Earlier reports said China’s future space station, which the country plans to put into service around 2022, will also be orbiting the Earth at approximately the same height – 393 kilometers above ground.
In April 2017, China’s first space cargo ship Tianzhou-1, which literally means heavenly vessel, will also be sent into orbit to dock with the space lab, providing it with fuel and other supplies.