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China ISS Space Science Technology

China Launches Space Station Laboratory Module 178

wisebabo writes with news from CNN that "China's first space laboratory module launched Thursday, according to state-run media, an important milestone in China's plan to build a space station." The module, known as Tiangong-1, features sleeping areas and exercise equipment. Writes wisebabo: "In another universe (Arthur C. Clarke's 2011), it would be on its way to Europa by now. Anyone know what orbital plane/altitude it's at? Can it be reached by NASA/Soyuz? Are the docking ports compatible? How about the air pressure/breathing mix?"
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China Launches Space Station Laboratory Module

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  • Orbit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skylax ( 1129403 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:01PM (#37556602)
    From my chinese coworkers I got the information that the module is currently in a 350km by 200km orbit at around 45 inclination.The finished station will consist of 3 modules at 20t each and has a designed lifetime of 2 years. It is basically used for testing purposes (docking procedures etc.) and will be manned by a 2-3 man crew with 20 day rotation.
  • Re:Orbit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZankerH ( 1401751 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:14PM (#37556794)
    Actually, you've got two different programs mixed up. The Tiangong-1 (the one launched today) will not form a part of the larger space station, and the 2 years lifetime only refers to this experimental module. Also, the Tiangong-1 will first be visited by the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft (to launch this november), followed by two manned Shenzhou expeditions in 2012. They're only planning to built the 60 ton space station by 2020.

The other line moves faster.