For the first time, panoramic images have been released by China, revealing the complete structure of its Tiangong space station.
According to the space agency, there had been limited opportunities for Chinese astronauts to capture a full image of the Tiangong through its viewing windows since its construction began in 2021.
These images display the symmetry and complete structure of the Tiangong, featuring its core module Tianhe at the center and two laboratory modules, Mengtian and Wentian, docked at either side, each with a pair of 55-meter solar panels.
Additionally, the images showcase the Shenzhou 17 spacecraft and Tianzhou 6 cargo ship docked at the front and rear of the Tianhe module, as well as the space station’s 10-meter robotic arm and slots for exposure experiments.
Despite its smaller size, the Chinese space station still provides over half the capacity for experiments of the International Space Station and a more spacious living and working environment for astronauts.
Plans to expand the Tiangong from a three-module, T-shaped structure to a six-module, cross-shaped one in coming years have been confirmed by senior Chinese space officials, who expect to double the space station’s capabilities in low-Earth orbit.