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China’s space lab Tiangong-2 launches micro satellite

The small companion satellite, Banxing-2, has launched to capture high-resolution images, orbiting close to Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11

The space lab of China, Tiangong-2, has successfully launched a printer size-micro satellite, media reports stated.

Tiangong-2 was launched on September 15 along with the satellite that weighs 47 kilograms, Technology and Engineering Centre for Space Utilisation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences stated.

The small companion satellite, Banxing-2, has launched to capture high-resolution images, orbiting close to Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11.

The satellite will start orbiting Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11 and taking photos with the high- resolution camera installed on it by the end of October.

According to reports, the micro satellite is capable of carrying out efficient orbit control, process tasks autonomously and transmits data at high speeds. Officials also said Banxing-2 will also conduct space experiments with Tiangong-2 to expand the use of space.

Launched on Oct. 17 from northwest China’s Gobi Desert, the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts into space and docked with Tiangong-2 two days later.

China earlier claimed that the country will have the only space station in service in 2024, when the International Space Station (ISS) retires.

According to Lei Fanpei, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), the country plans to launch the experimental core module of its space station around 2018 with the support of a Long March 5 heavyload carrier rocket.

The 18,143kg combination space station is expected to be sent into orbit around 2022 and will have a core module and two lab modules, with ports that will allow multiple spacecraft to dock, Lei Fanpei said.

Claiming astronauts can stay at the space station for over a year, Lei Fanpei said a manned spacecraft and cargo spacecraft will travel between the space station and Earth to provide supplies.

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