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China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab

China has successfully launched Tiangong-2 space lab to develop expertise for a future space station and conduct science experiments.

The space lab was launched on board of Long March-2F T2 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert.

Key Facts

  • Tiangong-2 ( in English means Heavenly Palace 2) space lab is part of China’s ambitious Project 921-2 space station program aimed at creating a third generation space station.
  • The 8-tonne module replaces China’s now-defunct Tiangong 1 space lab mission which had ended its operational life in March 2016.
  • Tiangong-2 features improved living quarters and life-support infrastructure for longer stays by visiting crewmembers.
  • It will be used for testing systems and processes for mid-term space stays and refueling. It will be placed at slightly higher orbit around 393 kilometres above the earth.

Note: The Tiangong-2 and its predecessor, Tiangong-1 (launched in September 2011), are prototypes for China’s ultimate goal to launch a permanent 20-ton space station after 2020 just as International Space Station (ISS). It will make China potentially the only country with a permanent space presence. In 2003, China had conducted its first crewed space mission becoming only the third country after Russia and the US to do so.

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Indian-American Abraham Verghese selected for National Humanities Medal 2015

Indian-American physician-author, Abraham Verghese (61) has been selected for the prestigious 2015 National Humanities Medal.

President Barack Obama will bestow the honour upon Verghese along with 11 others recipient’s at a ceremony to be held in Washington on 21st September 2016.

He has been selected for the prestigious award for reminding us that the patient is the centre of the medical enterprise.

About Abraham Verghese

  • He was born in Ethiopia to parents from Kerala who had worked as teachers.
  • Currently, Abraham Verghese is a professor of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine.
  • His work has emphasised empathy in medicine. He has authored several acclaimed books, including “My Own Country” and “Cutting for Stone”.

About National Humanities Medal

National Humanities Medal bestowed upon individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history, languages, philosophy, literature and other humanities subjects. It was inaugurated in 1997.

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