China launched the second of three modules needed to complete its new space station on July 24 as part of the latest step in the ambitious space program.
According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the giant Long March-5B Y3 carrier rocket, Wentian, was successfully launched from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site off the coast of the southern island province of Hainan.
The new module will serve as a backup to the core module, Tianhe, and as a powerful scientific experiment platform in the space station currently being built by China.
In the coming weeks, the Wentian will be transformed by a robotic device from a forward docking port to a lateral port, where it will remain and be ready for long-term operation.
The construction of China's Tiangong space station is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
This will complete the construction of Tiangong, the space station taking shape in China's space.
With the establishment of this space station, China will be the third country in the world to have its own space station.
It was launched in April 2021, and the Mengtian module is set to be launched in October this year.
About 18 meters (60 ft) long and weighing 22 tons (48,500 lb), the new module has three sleeping areas and space for scientific experiments.
It will combine with Tiangong's already dispatched modules to shape the space station.
Tiangong Space Station
This is a Chinese space station being built in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 kilometres above the earth.
It is part of China's manned space program and is the country's first long-term space station.
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