China launches first ‘cold’ atomic clock aboard second space station

China launched its second space station, Tiangong-2, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert on Thursday with the world’s first “cold” atomic clock on board – representing a pivotal step in China’s plan to become a major player in the modern-day space race.

Two astronauts are set arrive at the station in October where they will spend one month completing experiments. Running the Cold Atomic Clock in Space, one of 14 different experiments planned for the station’s two-year orbital stint, aims to determine if escaping the effects of gravity increases the accuracy of the timepiece. 

“It is the world’s first cold atomic clock to operate in space … it will have military and civilian applications,” Professor Xu Zhen, a scientist involved with the atomic clock project, told the South China Morning Post. READ MORE.

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