China Ready to Launch First Part of ISS Knockoff Tiangong This Year
China is getting its own space station ready, since much of the rest of the world is participating on the ISS. The Chinese space station is called the Tiangong, which apparently means “heavenly place.” The Chinese space station will be much, much smaller than the ISS.
The ISS tips the scales at around 450 tons here on Earth. The Chinese station will weigh only 60 tons. It will have one primary module, which you see in the photo here. It will also have two experiment modules and extra docking ports for additional spacecraft.
China plans to launch the main module this year and two other modules will come thereafter. The docking hardware will allow the Chinese station to dock with the ISS, assuming the Chinese are invited to the ISS party.