China’s space lab launches micro-satellite-Prelims-2017

  • China’s experimental space lab Tiangong-2 orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board has successfully launched a micro-satellite, roughly the size of a desktop printer.
  • Weighing 47 kilogrammes, 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 II and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which docked with the lab on Wednesday.
  • The Tiangong II space laboratory released its companion satellite, Banxing-2, at 7:31 am local time Sunday. The satellite, which the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”, also has an infrared camera that is temperature-sensitive, said Chen Hongyu, chief engineer of the satellite programme and a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Micro-satellite Innovation Institute.

About Banxing-2:

  • The micro-satellite Banxing-2 is roughly the size of a desktop printer and the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”.
  • It weighs 47 kilogrammes. It has series of visible light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and wide-angle imagers. It also has an infrared camera that is temperature-sensitive.
  • Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong II and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which has been docked with the lab.
  • The micro-satellite has three solar panels which generates enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft.
  • Its predecessor, Banxing-1, accomplished the same mission for Shenzhou VII in 2008.
  • Banxing-2 is new model of its predecessor Banxing-1 which had accomplished the same mission for Shenzhou VII in 2008. However Banxing-1 is smaller and has a higher capacity.

Micro-satellites:

  • They weigh around 500 to 100 kilograms. They are usually cheaper, faster and more advanced than traditional satellites. The commercial potential has attracted much attention from businesses.

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