On September 15, 2016 China launched Tiangong-2 into orbit. Later in October a two man crew will be launched to dock with the laboratory module. The crew will stay on-board for a month conducting experiments in medicine, physics and biology. This module and its predecessor Tiangong-1, are prototypes for the much larger and permanent 20-ton space station the Chinese are planning to put into space around 2020. This will be about the time that the ISS is currently scheduled to be retired.
Tiangong-2 is 34 feet in length and 11 feet in diameter. The module is also equipped with a robot arm to assist with connecting modules and scientific equipment. A cargo spacecraft flight to resupply tiangong-2 is planned for the late spring of 2017.