China's first space lab in operation for over 1000 days

Updated: 2014-09-26 17:11


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BEIJING - Tiangong-1, China's first space lab, has been in orbit for 1092 days since it was launched on Sept 29, 2011.

The space lab, which is in sound condition, is able to complete more operation time in orbit, according to Wang Zhaoyao, director of China's manned space program office.

Careful maintenance and monitoring will be carried out to ensure that the space lab, which was initially designed to stay in orbit for two years, will still be operational.

The 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1, with a length of 10.4 meters and maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, provides a 15-cubic-meter space for three astronauts to live and work.

It docked with the manned Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with three astronauts on board in June 2012. In June 2013, Shenzhou-10 docked with the lab and three astronauts delivered a physics lesson aboard Tiangong-1.

According to Wang, the Tiangong-2 space lab is scheduled to be launched in 2016, and the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft will be launched to dock with it.

Around 2022, the nation's first space station will be completed.

Since the government approved a manned station program in 2010, the program has been progressing steadily, with various modules, space vehicles and ground facilities under development.