China is making some major waves in space, and it just achieved a huge milestone.
Attention, NASA and the European Space Agency: China is becoming a major player in the space game. Two astronauts aboard China’s Shenzhou-11 spacecraft have successfully docked with the country’s new space lab, Tiangong-2, and are about to conduct the longest crewed space mission in China’s history.
Shenzhou-11 launched from an area near the Gobi Desert on Monday, and successfully docked on Wednesday in the afternoon, Beijing time. They are orbiting 224 miles above Earth, and are expected to stay on the lab for 33 days total to conduct numerous experiments, according to reports.
The Tiangong-2 lab was launched Sept. 15 and has been unmanned since then. It replaces Tiangong-1, which China is believed to have lost control of.
Eventaully, China wants to launch the first Chinese space station, with plans to launch a permanent 20-ton space station before 2024 when the International Space Station is retired. Tiangong is considered a precursor to this effort.