Tianhe launched on April 29, 2021. The 24-ton space station blasted off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on the Chinese island of Hainan aboard a Long March 5B rocket.
Tianhe got its first visitor just a few weeks after it arrived at its destination. On May 29, 2021, China launched the Tianzhou-2 spacecraft, which supplied Tianhe with fuel and astronaut supplies for later missions.
On June 17, the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft docked with Tianhe. Three astronauts were on board. The crew is set to spend three months testing equipment on Tianhe, preparing it for future astronauts.
The Tianhe core module is just one component of the Chinese space station, albeit a critical one. China plans to launch 11 missions between 2021 and 2022 in order to complete its 73-ton space station. Chinese astronauts have already begun training for crewed missions to Tianhe, but firm dates for those missions haven’t been set.