Majestic photo shows China’s Tiangong space station in all its glory

China’s Tiangong space station, photographed from the Shenzhou spacecraft

China Manned Space

China’s Tiangong space station has been photographed in its complete form for the first time. The vertiginous photo was taken from the Shenzhou spacecraft as it made its way back to Earth after delivering three crew members to the space station.

Tiangong is fully operational, after the third and final module, Mengtian, was attached late last year. This module, at the top of the image, and Wentian, at the bottom, are both laboratory modules. The Tianhe module, at the centre of the photo, contains astronauts’ living quarters and a docking hub.

The space station’s main purpose is for scientific research: the China Manned Space Agency has approved more than 1000 experiments to be performed in microgravity, on questions such as how plants grow in space and how fluids flow. The three Chinese astronauts currently aboard the space station arrived in late October and will stay there for six months.


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