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A display mock-up of Tiangong-2.
Station statistics
Crew 3
Launch 2016 (planned)[1]
Mass 20,000 kilograms (44,000 lb)
Length 14.4 metres (47 ft)
Diameter 4.2 metres (14 ft)
References: [2]

Tiangong-2 (Chinese: ; pinyin: Tiāngōng èrhào; literally: "Heavenly Palace 2") is a planned Chinese space laboratory and part of the Project 921-2 space station program. Tiangong-2 was originally expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency by 2015[1] to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011.[3] In September 2014, its launch was delayed to 2016.[4]


In 2008, the China Manned Space Engineering Office published a brief description of Tiangong-2 and its successor Tiangong-3, indicating that several manned spaceships would be launched to dock with Tiangong-2.

In March 2011, Chinese officials stated that Tiangong-2 was scheduled to be launched by 2015,[5][1] following the deorbit of Tiangong-1. Unmanned cargo spacecraft will dock with the station,[1] allowing for resupply.[6][dated info]

In September 2014, its launch was pushed to 2016.[4] Once in orbit, it is planned to be visited by manned mission Shenzhou 11 and unmanned resupply mission Tianzhou 1. That resupply mission will use the unmanned resupply craft Tianzhou.[7]

Development specifications[edit]

The expected specifications of Tiangong-2 will be as follows:

  • Crew size: 3, with 20 days of life support resources.[5]
  • Length: 14.4 metres (47 ft).[2]
  • Maximum diameter: 4.2 metres (14 ft).[2]
  • Mass: 20,000 kilograms (44,000 lb).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "China to launch Tiangong-2 and cargo spacecraft in 2015". GB Times. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "Tiangong-1 launch betrays China's earthly ambitions". BBC. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b Morris Jones (11 September 2014). "China's Space Station is Still On Track". SpaceDaily. 
  5. ^ a b 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. 
  6. ^ "China manned spaceflight program" (PDF). The Space Review. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  7. ^ AFP (10 September 2014). "China to launch second space lab in 2016: official". SpaceDaily.