Space lab in or­bit to dock with manned space­craft


Chi­nese sci­en­tists have ma­neu­vered the coun­try’s Tian­gong-2 space lab to an or­bit 393 kilo­me­ters above the Earth’s sur­face in prepa­ra­tion for a planned dock­ing with the Shen­zhou-11 manned space­craft next month.

Tian­gong-2, which blasted off from the Ji­uquan Satel­lite Launch Cen­ter on the back of a Long March-2F T2 rocket on Sept 15, has al­ready gone through about nine days of on-or­bit test­ing be­fore Sun­day’s ma­neu­ver, ac­cord­ing to Li Jian, deputy head of the Bei­jing Aero­space Con­trol Cen­ter. “All test re­sults sug­gest the space lab is in good con­di­tion,” Li said.

The Shen­zhou-11 manned space­craft is ex­pected to carry two as­tro­nauts into space to dock with the Tian­gong-2 in Oc­to­ber. The as­tro­nauts will work in the lab for 30 days be­fore re­turn­ing to Earth.

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