China has launched its second space lab, taking one step further in Beijing’s plan to establish a permanent space station.
According to CCTV America, Tiangong-2 will orbit 393 kilometers above the earth. The Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, carrying two astronauts, will dock with Tiangong-2 in October. The cargo ship Tianzhou-1 will dock with Tiangong-2 next year to resupply the space station.
Tiangong-2 is expected to monitor the earth while conducting conducting scientific experiments.
It will also measure the topography of the oceans in order to study earth’s gravitational field, the TeCake reported.
The Tiangong-2 and its predecessor, Tiangong-1, are prototypes for China’s ultimate goal — a permanent 20-ton space station, which is expected to launch after 2020.
China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1, was launched in 2011 and has been in good working condition ever since.