China launched the latest module of the Tiangong permanent space station

China has launched the Mengtian space module, the third and last large component of the first permanent space station, Tiangong. The launch took place at 3.37pm local time, 8.37am in Italy, from the Wenchang launch base, located on the tropical island of Hainan. Images of the launch were broadcast by state-owned China Central Television.

The module will dock with the main one of the space station

The module, the last to make up the space station, was launched with a Long March 5B vector, and the launch “was a complete success,” according to the CCTV announcement. The module will have to dock with the Tianhe main one of the space station, one of the key steps of the ambitious Beijing space program.

For the Austronauts 110 cubic meters of space beyond the station

The Mengtian orbiting laboratory has a length of 17.9 meters, a diameter of 4.2 meters and weighs over 23 tons, according to the designers of the Shanghai Academy of Sapcelift Technology, cited by the Chinese media: after assembly, the space station will have a “T” shape, and the taikonauts – Chinese astronauts – will have 110 cubic meters of usable space at their disposal.