At 15:37 on October 31, 2022 (Beijing time), the Long March-5B Y4 carrier rocket that is to propel the space station Mengtian lab module was launched on time at Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in China. About 8 minutes later, the Mengtian lab module was smoothly separated from the rocket and entered the preset orbit, with a complete success. The Mengtian lab module is the third module of the space station and also the second module for scientific experiments. It is composed of working module, load module, cargo airlock module and resource module, with the takeoff weight of about 23 tons. It is mainly used for space science and application experiments, and the management of the space station assembly. The cargo airlock module permits the automatic cargo in-and-out transport, providing support for scientific experiments inside and outside the module.
After being launched into the orbit, the space station Mengtian lab module was successfully docked with the forward port of the Tianhe core module at 4:27 on November 1, 2022 (Beijing Time). The rendezvous and docking lasted for about 13 hours.
At 9:32 on November 3, 2022 (Beijing time), the space station Mengtian lab module successfully completed its transposition.
During the transposition, the Mengtian lab module finished the relevant state setting and was separated from the space station assembly for about 1-hour plane transposition before docking with the lateral port of the node module of the Tianhe core module again. This afternoon, the Shenzhou-14 crew will enter the Mengtian lab module.
The successful transposition of the Mengtian lab module marks the smooth on-orbit assembly of the basic T-shape structure of the China space station and a key step towards the goal of completing the space station. As planned, the basic functional tests and evaluations of the space station assembly will be conducted later.
At 15:12 on November 3, 2022 (Beijing Time), the Shenzhou-14 crew entered the Mengtian lab module successfully.