Satnews Daily
September 26th, 2016

A Major Maneuver By China For Their Tiangong-2 Craft

China's launch of the Tiangong-2 space lab via a Long March 7 rocket. Photo is courtesy of Chinatopix.

As reported by, China has successfully maneuvered their Tiangong-2 space lab into the spacecraft's designated orbit at 383 km above the Earth and next month's docking with the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft seems to be on schedule.

China's Tiangong-2 space lab.

Tiangong-2 launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center via a Long March-2F T2 rocket on September 15th and has already completed nine days of on orbit testing before this maneuver was attempted, according to Li Jian, the deputy head of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center. "All test results suggest the space lab is in good condition," Li said.

Earlier reports indicated that China's future space station, which the country plans to place into service around 2022, will also be orbiting the Earth at approximately the same height as the Tiangong-2. The Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft is expected to carry two astronauts into space to complete this docking in October. The astronauts will work in the lab for 30 days before returning to Earth.

Li said the docking will be the country's first-ever simulation of future space station docking technologies, which will see the manned spacecraft "catching up with the space station using its own space maneuvering capacities."

In April 2017, China's first space cargo ship Tianzhou-1, which literally means heavenly vessel, will also be sent into orbit to dock with the space lab, providing that unit with fuel and other supplies.