(ORDO NEWS) — The last module of China’s Tiangong space station successfully docked with the main Tianhe module early Tuesday morning.
The Mengtian laboratory module was launched on Monday on a Long March 5-B rocket from the Wenchang Cosmodrome, which is located on the tropical island of Hainan in China. 13 hours later, the Mengtian docked with the space station.
In addition to Mengtian, over the past two years, China has successfully launched the main module, three manned spacecraft, the Wentian laboratory module, and several cargo spacecraft for the construction of Tiangong.
Mengtian is the third and final main component of the T-shaped space station, measuring nearly 18 meters in length and weighing 23 tons.
The module houses scientific equipment that will be used to study microgravity and conduct experiments in the fields of fluid physics, materials science, combustion science and fundamental physics.
It also houses the world’s first space-based cold atomic clock system.
“If successful, cold atomic clocks will form the most accurate system of time and frequency in space, which should not lose a single second in hundreds of millions of years,” said Zhang Wei, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Three more taikonauts will join the Shenzhou-14 mission crew, who currently reside on the space station, to complete the Tiangong by the end of this year, according to the space agency.
Beijing plans to launch the Xuntian Space Telescope next year, with a field of view 350 times that of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
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