Beijing | China’s second space lab Tiangong-2 is scheduled to be put into orbit in the next few days as part of efforts to establish its own space station by 2022.
It is expected to be launched between September 15 and 20, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The space lab was transferred with its carrier rocket to the launch pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China today, the report said.
Yesterday China’s space programme suffered a set back when a rocket failed to put the the most advanced satellite into orbit.
This was its first failure since 2013, Hong Kong media reported. There is no official statement on this so far.
The rocket was to put into orbit the Gaofen satellite which is part of series designed to give China a global network of earth observation satellites with high-definition, all- weather, and 24-hour intelligence gathering capabilities for military and civilian users by 2020.
Tiangong-2, which can enable two astronauts to live in space for 30 days, is capable of receiving manned and cargo spaceships and will be used for testing systems and processes for mid-term space stays and refuelling.
It will also be involved in experiments on aerospace medicine, space sciences, on-orbit maintenance and space station technologies.
China’s first space lab Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011, ended its data service earlier this year.
It had docked with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and undertaken a series of experiment.
China plans to set up a permanent space station by 2022.
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