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Shenzhou 11 Carrying Chinese Astronauts Arrives at Tiangong-2 Space Station

Oct 20, 2016 05:21 AM EDT
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Two Chinese astronauts entered Tiangong-2, the experimental Chinese space station, for the first time after arriving in space aboard a Shenzhou 11 spacecraft.
(Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)

China' space missions are on a roll! After successfully placing its second space lab into orbit last month, China also managed to send two astronauts to space to manned the experimental space station Tiangong-2.

The two astronauts docked on the Chinese space lab Tianong-2 aboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft. The rocket left China last Monday, Oct. 17 and successfully docked to the space lab on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Both Jung Haipeng and Chen Dong, Chinese Taikonauts, will complete the longest Chinese mission in space for more than 30 days. During that period, they will be performing scientific experiments inside the experimental space station.

Tiangong-2 is positioned 393 kilometers above the planet, according to a report. The Chinese space station commander Jing Haipeng was to one who opened the latch of Tiangong-2 for the first time since it had been sent to space. Astronaut, Chen Dong, followed suit. Making them the first Chinese astronauts to man a Chinese Space Station. Dong is on his first mission to space and is reportedly ecstatic to become part of the mission.

China has been adamant in claiming that it is aiming to become the next space giant. The failed Tiangong-1, now spiraling back to Earth, and the existing experimental space station, Tiangong-2 are part of the bigger Chinese dream of mounting its own space station. Reports say that the space station will be sent to space module by module and Tianong-2 will part of it. The space mission of the two astronauts will be in preparation for the launch of the biggest module of the Chinese space station.

The International Space Station (ISS) is set to retire in 2024, and if China's new space station is operation by then, it could be the only active space station by 2024. If the current mission of two astronauts will succeed, China will be able to successfully mount a space station in orbit in the next few years.

China first sent humans to space 13 years ago and since then, the nation continuously worked for the realization of its dream of becoming the next space giant. With massive government support, the Chinese space agency's future in the space industry looks bright. 


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