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Mengtian, which means “dreaming of the heavens,” will be used for space science and application experiments, Chinese officials said. It also has a cargo airlock to transfer equipment into and out of the space station, multiple slots for internal experiment racks, and attachment posts for unpressurized instruments outside the module.

Chinese astronauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe living on the Tiangong complex monitored Mengtian’s arrival, then were expected to become the first crew members to float into the station’s new module.

After docking at the station, the Mengtian module will fully unfurl its solar panels to a span of about 180 feet (55 meters) tip-to-tip. A robotic arm will later relocate the new laboratory to a different position on the port side of the Tianhe core module, giving the Tiangong space station its distinctive “T shape” in orbit.

Mengtian is the last of three large, pressurized modules needed to complete the initial construction of the Tiangong station. The Tianhe core module launched on a Long March 5B rocket in April 2021, and the Wentian laboratory section launched on a Long March 5B in July.

Alternate Names

  • 54216
  • Mengtian

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2022-10-31
Launch Vehicle: Long March 5B
Launch Site: Wenchang, Peoples Republic of China

Funding Agency

  • China National Space Administration (Peoples Republic of China)


  • Other

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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