A display mock-up of Tiangong-2.
|Mass||8,500 kilograms (18,739lb)|
|Length||14.4 metres (47 ft)|
|Diameter||3.35metres (14 ft)|
Tiangong-2 (Chinese: 天宫二号; 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 to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011. Tiangong-2 is scheduled for launch in September 2016.
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, following the deorbit of Tiangong-1. Unmanned cargo spacecraft will dock with the station, allowing for resupply.[dated info]
In September 2014, its launch was pushed to 2016. Once in orbit, it is planned to be visited in October 2016 by manned mission Shenzhou 11 and unmanned resupply mission Tianzhou 1. That resupply mission will use the unmanned resupply craft Tianzhou.
The expected specifications of Tiangong-2 will be as follows:
- Crew size: 3, with 20 days of life support resources.
- Length: 14.4 metres (47 ft).
- Maximum diameter: 4.2 metres (14 ft).
- Mass: 20,000 kilograms (44,000 lb).
- Chinese space program
- Chinese space station – a multi-module orbital station, planned for launch around 2020
- International Space Station
- Shenzhou program
- Salyut programme – a Soviet space station with a similar monolithic design
- 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".
- "China to launch Tiangong-2 and cargo spacecraft in 2015". GB Times. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Tiangong-1 launch betrays China's earthly ambitions". BBC. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- 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.
- "China manned spaceflight program" (PDF). The Space Review. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Morris Jones (11 September 2014). "China's Space Station is Still On Track". SpaceDaily.
- AFP (10 September 2014). "China to launch second space lab in 2016: official". SpaceDaily.