China to launch second space lab Tiangong-2 in Q3
Updated: 2016-02-28 10:16
China is scheduled to launch the Tiangong 2 space laboratory in the first half of the year to test life support and space rendezvous technologies for the country's future space station.
After this, the Shenzhou XI spacecraft will be launched by a Long March 2F rocket to send astronauts to and dock with the space laboratory.
The nation plans to launch the core module of its space station in 2018 to test related technologies and to research engineering issues. The station will become fully operational in about 2022, according to government sources.
With these ambitious space projects proceeding well, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp is finalizing the development of the next-generation carrier rockets.
The company's China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology is carrying out final tests on the Long March 5, the heaviest and most technologically challenging member of the nation's rocket family.
To accommodate the frequent space missions, the academy has increased its annual manufacturing capacity from a maximum of eight rockets to up to 20 and has substantially reduced the time required to develop each new rocket.