How To See The New Chinese Space Station
On Sept. 15th, China launched a new space station to Earth orbit: Tiangong-2. The 10-meter long spacecraft is only a fraction the size of the ISS, but there is room inside for two tiakonauts and plenty of science experiments. And in dark skies, it can be seen with the naked eye.
Tiangong-2 is the second of three prototype space stations China plans to launch as the country builds toward a Mir-class outpost in the next decade. Tiangong-2’s predecessor, Tiangong-1, is still in orbit and expected to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere sometime in 2017.
Next month, China will launch a crew of two to inhabit the new space station for approximately 30 days. While on board, they will test Tiangong-2’s life support system, and possibly conduct experiments in brain-machine interfacing, atomic clock navigation, and quantum communications.
Ready to see for yourself? Tiangong-2 flyby predictions are available from Heavens Above. Use the Satellite Database and search for object ‘41765’ labeled ‘OBJECT A.