The mission phase of the Space Laboratory consists of four missions, including the maiden launch of the Long March 7, as well as missions of the space lab Tiangong-2, manned spacecraft Shenzhou-11 and cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1.
In June 2016, the first Long March 7, China’s new-generation medium-lift launch vehicle, successfully took off from Wenchang Space Launch Center, greatly improving China’s capability of access to space and laying a solid foundation for follow-on missions.
In September 2016, the Space Laboratory Tiangong-2 was successfully launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. During the mission, more than 60 scientific experiments and technology tests were conducted, leading to a large number of achievements with international advanced level and significant application benefits. Valuable experiences have been accumulated as critical inputs to the subsequent construction and operation of China’s space station.
In October 2016, the manned spacecraft Shenzhou-11 was launched into space atop a Long March 2F launch vehicle with astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong onboard. The successful rendezvous and docking with the Space Laboratory Tiangong-2 demonstrated the viability of astronauts’ medium-term stay in space. During the mission, a number of human-attended experiments were carried out, including space medical and science experiments and on-orbit maintenance technology tests.
In April 2017, the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 was successfully launched from Wenchang Space Launch Center. The mission marked a successful demonstration of cargo transportation capacity and in-orbit propellant refueling technologies, representing the successful completion of the second step of China's Manned Space Program.