Tiangong Space Station

Tiangong is a space station engineered and maintained by the Chinese space agency. Tiangong means ‘heavenly palace’ in Chinese.

Tiangong is large enough for 6 astronauts to live and work there at a time but there is usually a crew of just 3 people on board. It has been home to Chinese astronauts since June 2022.

The core module of the Tiangong space station in a clean laboratory at the Spacecraft Lunch Site
Tianhe core module at the clean room,
Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site.
By 中国新闻网, CC BY 3.0

The Chinese space agency launched the core module into Earth’s orbit in April 2021. Two additional modules were added in 2022. These are used for experiments. In 2023, the telescope module will be added.

The core module is called Tianhe, the old Chinese name for the Milky Way. This core module contains everything astronauts need to live in space. It includes a kitchen, sleeping and hygiene areas, and safety. 

In July 2021, three Chinese astronauts performed China's first spacewalk. Their mission was to set up a camera, test the space station's robotic arm. They also made sure that the core module is ready for future space crews.