Two Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong deployed on October 22, 2016 at 23:31 GMT (07:31 local time), first satellite deployed from Tiangong-2 space station. It was second from series of special purpose satellites used for monitoring vehicles in space.
This small satellite will be important source of information on condition of Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou-11 remaining in space linked together with docking mechanism. Banxing-2 was deployed the day before yesterday to take some pictures of Tiangong-2 and confirm that station is in perfect condition after docking of Shenzhou-11 conducted on October 19, 2016. It is second Chinese satellite deployed from manned vehicle remaining in space – first was Banxing-1 deployed during mission of Shenzhou-7 in 2008. Banxing-2 satellite weighs 47 kg is equipped with 25 MP full frame camera (operating in visible light and infra-red) and special imaging device equipped with fisheye lens to provide wide angle pictures. Spacecraft was designed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) – it is powered by solar arrays placed on 40 cm long sides of fuselage. They are providing power for onboard instruments and subsystems like navigation system able to control satellite to constantly orbit around the Tiangong-2. Satellite is utilizing Ammonia fueled thruster with thrust of 85 mN and specific impulse of 102 s for course control (for the moment main objective of Banxing-2 is flying around Tiangong-2 and performing continuous monitoring of the station, future objectives for this satellite were not unveiled). Deployment was conducted not directly from the station with utilization of the airlock, like on International Space Station; satellite was delivered on Tiangong-2 inside special deployment device attached outside the station. It was released remotely and pushed outside the container. Next satellite reached safe distance from station and let Tiangong-2 to fly underneath to take first pictures. Satellite will last as remote observation point for Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong at least until half of November, when both astronauts will return to Earth.