See latest configuration of China's Tiangong space station in stunning new video

China's space station is a busy place these days.

New footage released by China's human spaceflight agency shows the Tiangong space station in its new configuration following a series of arrivals to and departures from the orbital outpost.

The Tianzhou 5 cargo spacecraft undocked from Tiangong on May 5, freeing up a docking port for the next supply mission. The Tianzhou 6 cargo spacecraft — packed with supplies, scientific experiments and propellant — then launched for Tiangong on May 11. The mission was a precursor to the arrival of the station's next inhabitants.

Related: Facts about China's Tiangong space station

A video released on June 14, 2023 shows the latest configuration of China's Tiangong space station. (Image credit: CCTV)

China launched the Shenzhou 16 crewed mission on May 30, sending three new astronauts, including the country's first civilian, to Tiangong for a five-month-long mission. They took over control of the space station from the Shenzhou 15 crew, who then returned to Earth on June 4.

Finally, Tianzhou 5 completed its free flying mission and docked with Tiangong once more on June 5. The freighter will be filled with waste from Tiangong before being deorbited at a later time. 

The newly released video shows the Shenzhou 16 spacecraft docked at the radial port of the docking hub of the space station's Tianhe core module. The cargo airlock hatch of the Mengtian lab module can be seen through the panoramic camera outside Mengtian.

The Shenzhou 16 crew, consisting of commander Jing Haipeng and crewmates Zhu Yangzhu and payload specialist Gui Haichao — China's first civilian in space — are set to carry out a range of tasks during their time aboard Tiangong. They will complete the installation of large extravehicular application facilities, including a radiation biological exposure experiment payload, and other components and apparatus for experiments to be installed on the exterior of the Mengtian module.

The trio are also scheduled to study novel quantum phenomena and conduct experiments related to the verification of general relativity and the origins of life. They will also deliver a live science class as part of planned outreach activities.

The Shenzhou 16 astronauts are the fifth crew to visit Tiangong, and the second since the completion of the three-module outpost in November 2022.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.