During 2016, China launched its latest space station, Tiangong-2. Chinese taikonauts lived aboard the new space station for 30 days before returning to…
China launched a new space station laboratory in the middle of September 2016, making China the only nation to have two space stations in orbit, although one appears to no longer be…
Observers noted that China’s Tiangong-1, the only other space station besides the ISS currently in orbit, remained in place in 2014. China was expected to de-orbit Tiangong-1 two years after it launched in September 2011. No crews were launched to the uninhabited module during 2014.
Another operational space station is the Chinese Tiangong-1. Launched in late 2011, Tiangong-1 is a prototype space station that is being used to develop technologies and techniques necessary for China to move on to a larger, permanently occupied space station in the future. Tiangong-1 was first occupied in June 2012.
China has a long-term and active project to develop a permanently crewed space station in LEO. The first phase of that project started in 2011 with the launch of an experimental space laboratory named Tiangong-1. The spacecraft, which is 10.4 meters (34.1 feet) long and weighs 8,500 kilograms (18,700 pounds), has 15 cubic meters (530 cubic feet) of habitable volume and is equipped with sleeping stations and exercise gear for visiting crews.
China made great strides in 2011 toward developing its own modular space station, through the successful launch of the Tiangong-1 laboratory and rendezvous and docking with an unmanned Shenzhou-8 space vehicle. Two more Shenzhou missions are expected to dock with the module in 2012, with at least one of the missions carrying a crew.
China is developing its own space station as the next phase of its human spaceflight program. The first module for this station was completed in 2010, with China planning to launch it in 2011. The module, Tiangong-1 (Chinese for “Heavenly Palace”), is undergoing testing and will be launched on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket.