China is making its own space station. The country launched the first and main module earlier in May. It was named Tianhe-1. China, however, postponed the launch of Tianzhou-2. The Asian giant was slated to launch a supply mission to the permanent orbiting space station. However, it was delayed at the eleventh hour. The launch was likely postponed due to technical reasons. The orbiting laboratory will be called Tiangong. It was launched on April 29 this year. As per the schedule, two science modules will follow next year in a series of missions to make it operational. China didn’t share information related to the launch of the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft in the future.
Tianzhou-2 will be the first mission to head to the Tianhe module. It will be followed by 10 more launches. These launches will deliver the space station’s other modules, components, and supplies required to start experiments. Besides, a three-person crew will also be sent to the station. Chinese space station Tiangong does not aim to compete with the International Space Station. Tiangong will be smaller in size and will have a design similar to the Mir space station. The Mir space station was operated by the Soviet Union from 1986 to 2001 in the low Earth orbit. The Chinese space station will have limited capacity for astronauts. It can accommodate only three astronauts against six on ISS.
The Chinese space station is likely to be completed by end of 2022. The T-shaped station will weigh 66 tons. The ISS weighs 450 tons. The ISS was launched in 1998. It is still in operation, but the cost of maintenance has gone up manifold. Tianhe will feature a docking port. It can be expanded to six modules. Its core module will provide living space for astronauts. The space station will have the ability to connect with the Chinese space satellite. It will operate for 10 years. China started working on a project to launch its space station in 1992 and sent its first astronaut to space 10 years later. It became the third country in the world to send a human independently to space after the Soviet Union and the United States.