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Second Chinese space station acting strangely


Posted on Tuesday, 26 June, 2018 | Comment icon 13 comments

Tiangong-2 launched back in 2016. Image Credit: CMSE
China's Tiangong-2 space station recently spent ten days 95km closer to the Earth than its usual orbit.
The perplexing maneuver has sparked rumors suggesting that the station, which serves as a test facility for new space technologies, may soon be decommissioned.

The station's predecessor, Tiangong-1, plummetted back to Earth in an uncontrolled descent that saw it crash in to the Pacific Ocean back in April of this year.

Details of the change in orbit were published by the US Strategic Command's Joint Force Space Component Command before being commented on by astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

"My best fit to the data is that TG-2 reboosted at 0117 and 0202 UTC Jun 22, for a total delta-V of 56 m/s and a propellant usage of about 144 kg," McDowell wrote on Twitter. "Possibly just testing out the spacelab's engine reliability after 2 years in orbit, as part of end-of-life tests ?"

Despite requests for information, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) has so far failed to offer any sort of explanation for the station's unusual behavior.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (13)

Tags: Tiangong-2

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by toast on 26 June, 2018, 20:24
So we have learned that the station used 144kgs of propellant to lift its orbit by 95kms. I like such stuff.
Comment icon #5 Posted by StarMountainKid on 26 June, 2018, 22:07
My point is, Chinese technology is less capable of perfecting space stations than, say, the U.S. and its space station building partners. Give them time, though and they will catch up.  The first two Chinese space stations (Tiangong1 and 2) were and are prototypes to test their technologies, although # 2 is supposed to become part of their future permanent space station. The Chinese design relies heavily on the cooperation with the Russians sharing their technology with the Chinese. I would thin the Chinese have 'borrowed' from other sources, intellectual properties and all that.  Since it see... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 June, 2018, 10:46
Given that there seems to nothing wrong with Tiangong 2 I still don't see your point. (Did you actually read the article). It is not out of control or malfunctioning, it has simply performed some unusual manoeuvres recently, prompting experts to believe that it is about to be decommisioned. If that is the case it demonstrates an improvement over Tiangong 1, which the Chinese did lose control of. Comparison with the USA is not really possible. The USA has only ever built one fully indigenous space station, Skylab, and that ended up making a rather spectacular, uncontrolled re-entry over Austral... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by smokeycat on 27 June, 2018, 13:46
Interesting article. Hopefully there will be more information soon.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Nzo on 30 June, 2018, 4:13
I guess the Chinese did not steal enough space technologies from the U.S. Russia and EU. Time to get those Chinese Hackers a hacking.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 30 June, 2018, 11:15
What? Firstly there is no malfunction with Tiangong 2, rather rendering your comment meaningless to begin with.  Secondly, the EU? I think you mean ESA, a very different organisation.  Thirdly the Chinese have had a space programme for decades, launching their first satellite on 1970. They have been developing their rockets since long before there was such a thing as hacking.  Lastly there manned programme has been developed in open cooperation with Russia. They bought Soyuz technology from them. That's not to say that the Chinese won't steal technology from the west if and when they can, but ... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Nzo on 30 June, 2018, 18:40
The Chinese have been stealing technology from the west since the doors to Mordor were opened back in the 80s. You make it sound like the U.S. and its allies are stealing tech, when they are hacking to see what China is up to. The Chinese have become not only an economic threat(which all countries have felt quite considerably) but now they are trying to steal whole oceans with their military. China does not have any tech of its own, its all procured(stolen) technology. You might be mistaking China for Japan. Now Japan has some serious tech, probably the best tech in the world. From future car ... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 July, 2018, 21:37
I know, which is why I said:   Because we are the good guys and are never naughty. Really! You truly are naive. Total nonsense. Do you know which county invented the rocket? All I can say is that if you truly believe that all China's tech is stolen then you must also believe that the CIA are the most useless organisation on the planet as it seems that the Chinese can steal from the USA whatever and whenever it wants. You must have a lot of contempt for the USA if you think it is that useless at protecting it's secrets.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 July, 2018, 21:45
Not only is the US government involved in industrial espionage, it is spying on it allies: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-security-snowden-germany/snowden-says-nsa-engages-in-industrial-espionage-tv-idUSBREA0P0DE20140126 https://qz.com/105490/how-the-us-government-uses-information-from-spying-on-foreign-companies/ https://theintercept.com/2014/09/05/us-governments-plans-use-economic-espionage-benefit-american-corporations/
Comment icon #13 Posted by Nzo on 2 July, 2018, 22:52
You went to all that trouble to prove nothing... FYI China is not an ally and they never were.   You sure like to imagine what I am thinking. Wrong on all counts.


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