- Oct 3, 2016
With the arrival of three astronauts to China's Tiangong space station, the rival to the ISS is now being used for the country’s longest space mission yet.
With the arrival of three astronauts to China’s Tiangong space station, the unofficial rival to the International Space Station (ISS) is now being used for the country’s longest space mission yet.
The Shenzhou 13 mission includes astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, and Ye Guangfu, according to Space.com. The trio arrived at Tiangong on Saturday after launching into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center in the Gobi Desert.
While their mission includes spacewalks and equipment testing, perhaps the most impressive aspect is the space station itself.
The orbital lab boasts a number of tools and designs that set it apart from the ISS, which is fairly old and slated to be retired within the next decade. Not only does Tiangong have spacious bunks for its astronauts, but it also has a sleek space gym and separate living spaces for each crewmember — with a minimalist white interior design that looks more like an Apple store than a cramped space habitat.
Compared to ISS: