Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory
According to latest news from China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory has deorbited and reentered into atmosphere on Beijing time 21:06 pm July 19th, 2019. A small amount of residual load survived reentry and splashed down to the scheduled safe zones of the south Pacific Ocean. The controlled reentry of Tiangong-2 marks the successful completion of all tasks in the stage of space laboratory on China Manned Space Program.
Since launched on Sep 15th, 2016, Tiangong-2 has completed 4 times of dockings with Shenzhou-11 manned spaceship and Tianzhou-1 cargo spaceship successively. During the orbital flights, Tiangong-2 supported 2 astronauts to live and work for 30 days, and realized a series of key technologies breakthroughs not only as astronauts’ mid-term stay in space and propellant refueling, and also completed a number of extended tests during its extended service. These important accumulated experiences laid a solid foundation for the development, construction and operations for future’s China Space Station.
Large number of payloads and equipment were installed in Tiangong-2, including of 14 utilization payloads weighing 600kg, space medical experimental equipment and on-orbit maintenance test equipment, meanwhile more than 60 experiments and technical tests were successfully carried out, followed by quite a lot of achievement at international leading levels with significant utilization benefits, all of which make Tiangong-2 to be the first “real space laboratory” of China. Space cold atomic clock on board of Tiangong-2 is the first orbital clock in the world, and daily stability reaches 7.2E-16 based on the results of on-orbit test. Jointly developed by CMSA and ESA, POLAR is the first specialized universal Gamma-Rays (GRBs) polarization detecting instrument with a large wide field of view and high efficiency. 55 cases of GRBs have been successfully detected, which has made an important contribution to the joint detection of GRBs. In addition, Tiangong-2 also carried three award-winning experiments in the space science and technology design competition from Hong Kong middle school students, including sericulture in space, double pendulum experiment and water film reaction, and achieves good social and educational benefits.
As introduced, China Manned Space Program was formally established and implemented since 1992. Based on the "Three-step Strategy" of development, after more than 20 years of independent development and consecutive striving, CMSA has sent 11 manned spaceships, 1 cargo spaceship, 1 target spacecraft, 1 space laboratory into space, and has totally realized 11 astronauts’ space flight (14 person times) and their safe returns. All the preset tasks were successfully accomplished in the first and second steps, which laid a solid foundation for the third step to build the China's own space station, providing a solution for space utilization of larger scale with man-tending on a long term basis. CMSA and The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) jointly released the final result of the first bench of international cooperation projects on space utilizations of China Space Station in Vienna on June 12th, 2019. Nine projects from 17 countries on five continents were successfully selected, which marks Chinese Manned Space Program has taken an important step from independent development to global cooperation.
At present, the overall lines of the program are making intense efforts to prepare for the space station mission, and standing by with high morale for new expeditions, to welcome the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.