China’s space lab launches micro-satellite, Banxing-2
Tiangong-2, the experimental space lab of China, on 23 October 2016 successfully launched a micro-satellite, Banxing-2 (the word means Companion Satellite). The micro-satellite is roughly the size of a desktop printer.
At present, Tiangong-2 is orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board.
- Weighing 47 kilograms, the micro satellite has a series of visible light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and wide-angle imagers.
- Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which docked with the lab on 19 October 2016.
- The satellite, which the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”, also has an infrared camera that is temperature – sensitive.
- With three solar panels, the satellite can also generate enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft.
- The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts into space on the 17 October 2016. It docked with Tiangong-2 two days later.
• In 2008, its predecessor, Banxing-1, did the same work for Shenzhou 7.