China launches first key module of new permanent space station
BEIJING – China has launched a first key Tianhe module of a new permanent space station.
The space station was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on a Long March-5B rocket to be operational by next year.
The only current space station in orbit is International Space Station which is a collaboration of Russia, the US, Canada, Europe and Japan while China was blocked from participating in it.
China hopes to have the new station operational by 2022.
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So far, China has sent two previous space stations into orbit. The Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 were trial stations though, simple modules that allowed only relatively short stays by astronauts.
The new, 66-tonne, multi-module Tiangong station is set to be operational for at least 10 years.
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