Tiangong Space Station

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

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

Tiangong is not yet complete. At the moment it only contains the main component, a core module called 'Tianhe'. Tianhe is 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 equipment. 

The Chinese space agency launched the core module into Earth’s orbit in April 2021. They will add two more modules containing science labs over the next few years. Once Tiangong is complete, three astronauts at a time will be able to stay there for long periods of time.  

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.