China continues to progress in the construction of its own space station called Tiangong This week, the third unit of the new station has reached orbit and has been added to the station, and Chinese astronauts have entered it for the first time.
According to Xinhua, the astronauts entered the new laboratory module for the first time on Thursday, November 3.
Astronauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Kai Xuzhi have been at the new space station since June as part of Shenzhou. -14 mission, which is docked on the base unit of Tianhe Station.
The new lab unit, called Mengtian, was launched on October 31 and reached the front port of the main unit, before being moved to a different port on November 3, Digitartlends reported.
Tiangong Space Station now has three modules in place: the Tianhe Basic Module which contains the living quarters and service section as well as the mooring hub, the Wentian module which houses the avionics and propulsion systems as well as backup functions, and now the Mingtian module which both includes a compact section that the crew can operate. It has an uncompressed shipping section.
The Shenzhou-15 crew will join the Shenzhou-14 crew currently at the station soon on a mission expected to launch this month. Three other crew members will arrive at the station and be delivered for 10 days between the two crews.
The handover period was not previously possible when the station had only its base unit, but with the addition of the Wentian unit that can be used as crew backup spaces, it is now possible to have two crews on the station at the same time.
The crew is also expecting the arrival of the cargo ship Tianzhou-5, which is expected to launch soon and will carry fuel and supplies to the station.