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Tiangong (Chinese: 天宫; pinyin: Tiāngōng; literally "Heavenly Palace") is a program of the People's Republic of China, with the goal of creating a third generation space station, comparable to Mir.


Space laboratory phase[edit]

Chinese efforts to develop LEO space station capabilities begin with a space laboratory phase, with the launch of three Tiangong space modules.

Tiangong 1 "target vehicle"[edit]

The Chinese docking target consists of a propulsion (resource) module and a pressurized module for experiments, with a docking mechanism at either end. The docking port of the experiment section supports automated docking. Its length is 10.5m, diameter is 3.4m, with a mass of 8000kg. Launched on September 29, 2011, it is intended for short stays of a crew of three.

Tiangong 2 "space laboratory"[edit]

The Chinese Space Lab will be launched in 2013. Configuration is as follows:

  • Crew Size: 3, with 20 days of life support resources.
  • Length: 14.4m
  • Maximum Diameter: 4.2m
  • Mass: 20000kg
  • Two docking ports

Tiangong 3 "space station"[edit]

The Chinese Space Lab is planned to be launched in the 2015 timeframe.

  • 40 days of living conditions for three astronauts
  • Evaluate regenerative life-support technology, and verify orbital replenishment of propellant and air.

Large orbital station[edit]

China plans to build what may be only the world's third multi-module space station, to follow Mir and the ISS. This is dependent upon the Tiangong 3 launch date, and the date of OPSEK's separation from the ISS. The previous separate components will be integrated into a space station, arranged as:

  • Core Cabin Module (CCM) - based on the Tiangong 3 "space station" and analogous to the Mir Core Module.
  • Laboratory Cabin Module I (LCM-1) and Laboratory Cabin Module II (LCM-2) - based on Tiangong 2 "space laboratory".
  • Shenzhou - crewed vessel
  • A cargo craft based on Tiangong-1 that will have a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters and a launch weight less than 13 tons, to transport supplies and lab facilities to the space station.

The larger station will be assembled in 2020-2022 and have a design lifetime of ten years. The complex will weigh approximately 60000kg and will support three astronauts for long-term habitation.

Related add-ons[edit]

Tiangong 1: http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=5917

Shenzhou 9: http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=5920

China's Manned Space Program v1.5 (Shenzhou spacecraft, Long March 2F, Jiuquan base): http://www.orbithangar.com/searchid.php?ID=3179

External links[edit]

Tiangong program