China has completed construction of its Tiangong space station, which means “Heavenly Palace”, after the successful launch of the last module, the Mengtian Science Laboratory, in November 2023. The space station is T-shaped and weighs about 66 tons, a 20% weight reduction compared to the International Space Station.
It can accommodate up to six “astronauts,” as Chinese astronauts are called, for up to six months. China released the first images of the space station, showing its structure, solar panels and internal equipment. China’s space station is expected to have a useful life of up to a decade, according to experts.
The station is an important milestone for the country’s space program, which has ambitious plans to explore space and become a new space superpower. China intends to send manned and cargo missions to Tiangong annually and expand and modify its shape in the future.
The Tiangong Space Station is an alternative to the International Space Station (ISS), which is operated by the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency. China is not part of the International Space Station Consortium and has been barred from participating for political and security reasons.
See a photo of the Chinese space station below:
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