China launches second of three space station modules, ‘Wentian’
On July 24, 2022, the Chinese space agency successfully launched the second of three modules needed to complete its new Tiangong space station, under its ambitious space programme.
The uncrewed craft is named Wentian, which literally means “quest for the heavens”.
This module was launched by a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang launch centre on China’s tropical island of Hainan.
The first and central module called Tiangong, which means “heavenly palace”, was launched in April 2021.
The third and final module named Mengtian, is scheduled to be launched in October 2022.
Until the final module arrives, the space station will have a “rather unusual L-shape”.
Once all the three modules are complete, the Tiangong space station will acquire T-shape.
The Tiangong space station will be around 20% as massive as the International Space Station (ISS), which has a mass of about 460 tons.
It must be noted that China has been excluded from the International Space Station (ISS) since 2011, when the United States banned NASA from engaging with the country, so China is setting up its own space station.