The Tiangong-1 is the rudiment of China's space station and an experimental space laboratory. It is mainly used to carry out the rendezvous and docking test, so as to master the technologies relating to the rendezvous and docking and accumulate the experience for the construction, management and operation of the space station.
The main body of the 8-ton Tiangong-1 is a short and thick cylinder, with a docking port on its front and rear ends. The two modules include an experiment module and a resource module. The experiment module is composed of an enclosed front coneshaped section, a cylindrical section and a rear coneshaped section. On the front end of the experiment module there are the docking mechanism and the measuring and communication equipment, which are used to support the rendezvous and docking with spaceships. The resource module supplies the power necessary for flight.
After Shenzhou-8 and Shenzhou-9, the Tiangong-1 will also conduct with rendezvous and docking tests with the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft within its 2-year designed life span.