By 2025 this may be the only space station left in orbit, until the new Russian one is launched. China seems prepared to accept the cooperation of other nations with scientific projects in its space station, but one may doubt that the US will join that collective effort.China marches a step closer to its future space station
By Pan Zhaoyi
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-04-30/G ... index.html
China on Thursday launched a core module of its own space station, a step closer to the finishing touches on the decades-old manned space program.
The space station, expected to be completed around 2022, will operate at a low-Earth orbit and an altitude of 340 km to 450 km above the Earth surface for more than 10 years, supporting worldwide scientific and technological experiments.
The T-shape station has one core module at the center and a lab capsule on each side. Each of the modules will be over 20 tonnes, with the total mass of the station weighing about 66 tonnes.
The station is expected to be the only one left in service by 2024 when the International Space Station (ISS) now still orbiting retires, according to Lei Fanpei, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a state-owned space conglomerate. Besides, Russia has recently announced that it will leave the ISS project in 2025.
Compared to the in-service ISS and other former retired legends, the China Space Station (CSS) may not be as big but is more cost-efficient and technologically advanced in some areas, allowing it to fully meet the demands of various kinds of space applications, said Bo Linhou, deputy chief designer of the CSS, in a group interview prior to the Thursday launch.
Beijing's motive to construct a space station
Since the first rudimentary station was created in 1969, people on Earth have put a total of 11 such facilities in Earth orbit.
Although dozens of countries have carried out space programs since then, only three have independently sent humans into space – the former Soviet Union, the United States and China.
The Soviets and the Americans started their manned space programs against the backdrop of the Cold War space race, while China's original intention to build a space station targeted the huge social, economic, and most importantly, scientific benefits behind it.
Officially started in 1999, China's manned space program has adapted a three-step approach for building a "permanent outpost" in space orbit. The previous two stages including human spaceflights and space lab missions were all about gaining the technical know-how for operating the CSS.
"The CSS program drives the development of various advanced disciplines, like space science and life science, and provides opportunities for cutting-edge research across whole industries," said Bo.
"Serving as a long-term 'home port' in orbit, the space station, with its natural high-vacuum microgravity and ultra-clean environment, can offer perfect conditions for scientific and technological research."
International collaborations on space stations' construction
Although Beijing has been excluded in the ISS project, the country's own space station has garnered far-ranging collaboration and support.
In 2018, the China Manned Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) jointly announced that nine scientific experiments from 17 countries had been accepted to be conducted on board the upcoming CSS.
The selected experiments come from both developed and developing countries, including France, Germany, Japan, Kenya and Peru, and they cover a broad range of scientific subjects, including Earth observation, solar cells, space life sciences and biotechnology.
The "forward-looking" initiative seeks to "open the CSS to all countries and create a new paradigm in building capabilities in space science and technology, in particular for developing countries," UNOOSA said in a press release.
Chen Lan, an analyst who specializes in China's space program, had told AFP that the project was a "big deal."
"This will be the largest international space cooperation project for China, so it's significant," he said.
Look At Those Cave Men Go
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China Space Station: what will astronauts' living space look like?
by Liu Wei
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-04-30/C ... index.html
The interior of Tianhe showcased at China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, March 18, 2021. /CFP
The astronauts who will conduct tasks on China's space station will be enjoying a larger space than their predecessors.
The core module Tianhe launched on Thursday is the first module of China's space station sent to the space. It is not only a control center but a main space where astronauts will live and conduct scientific works.
The airtight cabin of the core module Tianhe offers 50 cubic meters of space for the astronauts, over three times bigger than Tiangong-1 or Tiangong-2 space lab with only about 15 cubic meters, said Bo Linhou, deputy chief designer of the China's space station.
"It's a substantial leap in terms of space for astronauts moving around," Bo said.
The space station will be T-shaped with the core module at the center and two lab capsules separately on each side when the construction is complete. The three-module station can accommodate astronauts with over 100 cubic meters space for living and working, six times bigger than Tiangong-2 space lab.
Six zones are set for astronauts including working, sleeping, sanitation, dining, healthcare and exercise.
There are three separate bedrooms and one toilet, allowing three astronauts to live for a long time, according to Zhu Guangchen, deputy chief designer of the space station system at the China Academy of Space Technology, at a press conference on Thursday.
The dining zone features a retractable dining table and equipment to heat or refrigerate food, as well as supplying drinking water, Zhu said, "The exercise area is equipped with space treadmills and bikes."
He said the core module has a life support system to regenerate oxygen and dispose carbon dioxide and hazardous gas as well as recycle water. "It reduces the load of consumption goods sent to space, prolonging the stay of the astronauts."
There are also air conditioners to ensure the temperature, humidity and working temperature of equipment are within the appropriate range, Zhu added.
According to Bo, astronauts can surf the internet or call anyone on Earth with a network that runs at a maximum speed of 10 gigabits per second.
"The network the astronauts use is no difference than what we use on the ground."
This is the second element in China's coming space station. While the ISS slowly falls apart China is on the way to become the only country with an operational space station. Next will be a Moon Base to be built together with Russia.Tianzhou-2 cargo craft completes rendezvous, docking with China's space station core cabin at record speed
By Deng Xiaoci - May 30, 2021 05:05 AM
China's Tianhe space station core cabin received its first "visiting guest" - the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft early Sunday, about 8 hours after the latter's launch, setting a new record in China's space history.
According to the China Manned Space Agency, the rendezvous and docking of the Tianzhou [Heavenly Vessel] cargo spacecraft with the Tianhe core cabin took around eight hours after the former was launched from Wenchang spaceport from South China's Hainan Province via a Long March 7 carrier rocket at 8:55 pm Saturday.
The first spaceship launched in the space station construction phase, Tianzhou-2 weighed 13.5 tons at launch, and is capable of sending a payload of 6.9 tons for supply missions. Its in-orbit service is at least one year, said Feng Yong, commander-in-chief of the Tianzhou-2 mission from the project contractor China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
The 10.6-meter-long, 3.35-meter-diameter Tianzhou-2 cargo spaceship has two components - a totally enclosed cargo cabin and a propelling cabin, according to CAST.
The carry-on onboard the Tianhe spacecraft includes consumables that are designed to support three astronauts on their space missions for three months, space suits for missions outside cabin and other supplies, Feng revealed, adding that during its docking with the space station core cabin, it will also carry out multiple in-orbit experiments.
Tianzhou-2 will also deliver propellants to refuel the Tianhe core cabin, Mu Guoxin, a CAST publicity official said.
"Next, the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship will dock with the core cabin at the front, and altogether the three sections will form the first linear structure for China's space station," Mu noted.
There were 6.8 tons of supplies onboard the Tianzhou-2, including some 160 parcels of goods and two tons of propellants, according to CAST. "The load to total mass ratio is over 50 percent, indicating its world leading capacity."
The two space suits for the astronauts' outside-cabin activities weigh more than 100 kilograms each, it disclosed.
The Saturday mission also witnessed a substantial improvement in the Tianzhou spacecraft's fast docking capability. Compared to the Tianzhou-1's rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-2 in 2017, which took about two days, it took a mere six hours to achieve the feat.
Lei Jianyu, deputy director designer of the Tianzhou-2 spacecraft, said that there are only two cargo spaceships in active service in the world that are capable of sending payloads of more than five tons, and Tianzhou is one of them, and has the "world class capability."
The reason behind such progress lies in the fact that all the information for the docking maneuver had been installed in software with the Tianzhou-2, saving the time needed to transfer such instructions from ground tracking and monitoring facilities, which was the case for Tianzhou-1 in executing the same move.
"Such a fast rendezvous and docking process not only shortens the stay of astronauts in the relatively narrow space in the spaceship, saving their energy, but also ensures that the transfer of fresh goods [such as biological agents] is conducted in a timely fashion," CAST developers said.
The Tianzhou-2 adopted a new long-distance guiding technology, as it was able to use the location information provided by the country's BeiDou Navigation Satellites System, or BDS, to automatically navigate itself for the rendezvous and docking with the space station, whereas the Tiangong-1 version needed artificial assistance to lead the craft to approach Tiangong-2 for the move.
In an ideal situation, the time for the rendezvous and docking of Tianzhou-2 would be reduced to some four hours, CAST announced.
In the event of an emergency, this kind of fast rendezvous and docking technology will also facilitate quick responses by providing all kinds of urgently needed materials to the space station and rescue the trapped astronauts, according to the academy.
Yang Sheng, the cargo spacecraft system's chief designer, disclosed that ground logistics technology has also been adopted for the spacecraft. For example, astronauts can obtain the location and further information of specific goods by scanning a QR code, and the inventory information is recorded in a dynamic manner so that astronauts can keep track of changes of goods.
Somewhere behind the horse stables.
“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros
For a few years petty minded Americans succeeded in preventing Chinese astronauts accessing the ISS. If the idea was to prevent China from ever working in space it failed. China is building its own space station, which will be open to astronauts from friendly countries, and where Chinese scientists will be able to contribute for a greater knowledge of space. China is unstoppable but Americans haven't yet registered that...Shenzhou-12 astronauts become first Chinese to enter a space station
by Gong Zhe , Wang Yizi - 17-Jun-2021
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-06-17/S ... index.html
Three Chinese astronauts entered their country's space station during the Shenzhou-12 mission, ending the history of no Chinese in space stations.
The trio, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, entered the space station's core module "Tianhe" from the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft launched on Thursday, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
This came less than three hours after the Shenzhou-12 docked with the space station about 400 kilometers above the Earth.
The old space station, namely the International Space Station (ISS), forbids Chinese to join because of a U.S. law banning the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from working with their Chinese counterparts.
More than two decades after the ISS was sent to the orbit, the Chinese have finally built their own space station and put astronauts in it.
Moreover, the project welcomes other countries to take part in.
After moving into the space station, the three astronauts will live in it for about three months and conduct scientific research.