In 2016, China plans to launch
space space laboratory "Tiangong-2." This launch will be the first for a relatively long period of calm in the China's space program
. After starting & quot; «Tiangong-1" of the country's plans for sending humans into orbit nothing was heard. 2014 and 2015 were held without sending Chinese astronauts, but now it looks like things could change.
Unfortunately, the preparation of the project "Tiangong-2" takes place behind closed doors - China never really advertise their activities in the framework of work on the space program. But now it became known that "Tiangong-2" is planning to send into orbit. There will be used a base module, which is included in the configuration of the "Tiangong-1". It is a small unit, where there are two beds. Most likely, in the orbit sent 3 people, so that one would have to watch and wait for their turn to sleep. There is one more feature - in the "Tiangong-2" will be used regenerative life support system.
Most likely, the Chinese engineers and docking stations will change, but these changes will not be dramatic. Launching Station in orbit will be carried out by means of carrier rocket Long March 2F / G. This is a modified rocket, which was previously used for sending Chinese astronauts into space. Interestingly, the "Tiangong-2" will take only one team, unlike its predecessor, "Tiangong-1", which was attended by two teams of Chinese.
As for people, they will be sent into space with the ship Shenzhou 11. Most likely, the space station will receive just three inmates, one of whom is an experienced astronaut, and one - a newcomer. Perhaps the newcomers are the other two members of the team of China's space. The station also plans to send the first Chinese space truck "Tianrui» (Tianzhou). The launch of the ship will be made by means of carrier rocket Long March 7 - as it still will not fly, it will be the first experience.
"Tianrui" will be docked to the "Tiangong-2" already after the astronauts will travel to Earth. Perhaps the goal of the Chinese - conducting interfacing that will point to the success of the mission and the reliability of the technologies used by China. Maybe the engineers plan to conduct some experiments. In any case, while it is not known.
Actually, all the current work under the "Tiangong" is intended to prepare for the implementation of a much larger project - the creation of the Chinese space station, which will be set up in Earth orbit by 2022. Now the Chinese test a variety of life-support system at work, as well as some other technological innovations. If all goes well, these technologies and will be used when creating a station.
There are a few issues that the Chinese did not illuminate. For example, earlier said it will launch another space laboratory - "Tiangong-3." It will made this phase of the program, or to abandon it? If so, what are the challenges facing the project team? While information on the subject is not.
It remains to wait for more data from official sources.