China took another step on its long march to a permanent orbital outpost with the launch of the Tiangong-2 orbital module from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center yesterday (15th).
The launch, conducted by a Long March 2F – took place from the 921 Launch Pad of the LC43 Launch Complex. The new orbital outpost will enable the crews to remain in orbit for 30-day missions.
The new station marks a step forward for China, which hopes to send a mission to Mars in the not-so-distant future.
The Tiangong 2, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” will be used to test space technology and conduct medical and space experiments.
After this launch, China wants to create a manned space station by around 2022 and the country has said it plans to land a rover on Mars by 2020.