China Launches Tiangong-2 Space Station

china_flagThe Chinese successfully launched the Tiangong-2 space station into orbit from aboard a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

A two-man crew is scheduled to launch to the station in October aboard the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft. The crew will carry out a 30-day mission aboard the space station before returning to Earth.

Tiangong-2 is a precursor to a multi-module station that China will be assembling later this decade. Officials had previously said they would begin launching the new facility around 2018. However, media reports today say the first launch could occur next year.