A tale of two space stations: The ISS and the Tiangong

In April of 2021, China’s Tiangong space station joined the International Space Station (ISS) in low orbit and is now waiting for the rest of its modules scheduled to join it in the coming years.

The question then becomes how do these two space stations compare? What are the technical differences between the two of them? How much does each one cost? Why is Tiangong important for China? What will happen when the ISS dies?

On the surface, the two stations may seem quite similar with the main difference being that Tiangong is much smaller.

Even after all of its planned modules are fully deployed, the Tiangong will only possess a fifth of the mass of the ISS.

However, despite its small size, the Tiangong is slated to be able to house 12 astronauts whereas the ISS can only host a maximum of 13 despite its massive size. One could argue that Tiangong is extremely space-efficient.

But that’s not the only difference between the two stations. The stations differ in terms of modules, generations, docking systems, structures, robotic arms and airlocks, experiments, and even purposes. But perhaps the most profound differences lie in the circumstances behind their respective programs.

In this video, we examine all these aspects in great detail and answer all the questions surrounding them.

If you’ve ever been curious about the ISS or Tiangong, then this is a video not to be missed since we bring you the full history behind the two stations and many more enticing facts while examining their differences.


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