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Station statistics
Mission statusCancelled
Mass22,000 kilograms (49,000 lb)
Length18.1 meters (59 ft)
Diameter4.2 meters (14 ft)

Tiangong-3 (Chinese: ; pinyin: Tiāngōng sānhào; literally: "Heavenly Palace 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.[1] The goals for the Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 laboratories were eventually merged, and the latter was therefore not ordered.[2]


In 2008, the China Manned Space Engineering Office published a brief description of Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3, indicating that several manned spaceships would be launched in the late 2010s to dock with Tiangong-3.[3] The first Tiangong module, Tiangong-1, was launched in September 2011, and docked with the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft in November 2011, marking China's first orbital docking.[4]


Tiangong-3's 22-metric-ton core module was expected to be around 18.1 metres (59 ft) long and have a maximum diameter of 4.2 metres (14 ft).[5] It was expected to provide:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c David, Leonard (2011-03-11). "China Details Ambitious Space Station Goals". Space.com. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 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.
  2. ^ "脚踏实地,仰望星空—访中国载人航天工程总设计师周建平". Chinese Government. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  3. ^ "future plan of space laboratory system (in Chinese)". 2008-09-29. Archived from the original on September 28, 2008.
  4. ^ "Chinese spacecraft dock in orbit". BBC News, 2011-11-02.
  5. ^ a b Branigan, Tania; Sample, Ian (2011-04-26). "China unveils rival to International Space Station". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 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".