Tiangong-1 Space Station

It is appropriate that Tiangong-1 literally means ‘Heavenly Palace’ in Chinese, being the first habitable space station to serve as a manned laboratory launched by China. Three Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft visited Tiangong-1 while it was in orbit, paving the way for a larger modular Chinese space station in the future. The Tiangong-1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burnt up over the Pacific Ocean on April 2nd 2018.


Tiangong-1 Station Fast Summary Facts!

  • Type:  Space Station testbed
  • Destination:  Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
  • Status:  Deorbited
  • Launch Location:  Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre
  • Launch Date:  September 29th 2011      
  • Re-entry Date:  April 2nd 2018
  • Mission Duration:  4 ½ years

Read About China’s Tiangong-1 Small Space Station

  • The Tiangong-1 ‘space-laboratory’ is comprised of two main sections; a service module-type section with its solar panels and propulsion systems, and a larger pressurized 15 cm3 habitable experimental module.
  • The station was 10.4 m (34 ft) in length, 3.35 m (11 ft) in diameter and over 8.5 tonnes (18,700 lbs) in mass at launch.
  • Tiangong-1 space station was launched aboard the Chinese Long March 2F rocket.
  • The Tiangong-1 station was visited by three Shenzhou spacecraft during its time in orbit, firstly the unmanned Shenzhou 8, followed by the Shenzhou 9 and 10 with the first female taikonaut!
  • Two crew members can sleep in the Tiangong with a third sleeping in the docked Shenzhou spacecraft.
  • On June 20th 2013, Wang Yaping (China’s second female taikonaut) delivered a remote video lecture from orbit to students across China, demonstrating physics in microgravity.
  • The Chinese Space Agency has since launched a new small ‘Heavenly Palace’ called Tiangong-2.
  • In late 2016, contact with the decommissioned station was lost so it became another piece of space junk and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere uncontrolled on April 2nd 2018 with reports that it is likely that debris made it to the Earth’s surface.
Chinese Space Station
Tiangong-1 Schematic
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