China’s Space Station Is Coming Together Bit by Bit

China aims to have its first space station up and running by next year.

Construction of the orbiting habitat—dubbed Tiangong, or “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese—began in April, when a Long March 5B rocket delivered the core module into low Earth orbit. Plans call for more modules to be placed into orbit over the next 12 months, with successive crews aboard the station conducting a series of tests and spacewalks to manage the assembly.