What is Tiangong-2?

  1. Tiangong-2, a Chinese space station has burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere as part of a planned deorbit. The space station’s planned deorbit was executed by putting it into a controlled descent into the atmosphere, where it broke up into small pieces.
  2. It was launched in 2016 as a space lab for testing space technologies. The space station weighed 8 tons thus making it very small by space station standards.
  3. Tiangong-2 was the successor to Tiangong-1, which was launched in 2011. Tiangong-1 had an unplanned deorbit in 2018.
  4. China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) has announced that Tiangong-2 is planned to be replaced by a new Chinese space station called Tianhe, which will be able to host three astronauts for long durations, around 2022.
  5. A space station is a habitable artificial satellite. It is capable of hosting crew members for an extended period of time, and provides facilities for experiments and support vehicles to dock.
  6. Currently, there is only one fully functional space station in the Earth’s lower orbit, the International Space Station. The ISS is a partnership between European Union (European Space Agency), the United States (NASA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA) and Russia (Roscosmos).