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China launches key part of first permanent space station | News

Beijing — China announced Thursday the main module of the first permanent space station to host astronauts for a long time. This is the latest success of a program that has realized many of the growing ambitions of recent years.

The Tianhe, or “Heavenly Harmony” module, was blown into space above the Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Space in the southern island state of Hainan Province, demonstrating another major advance in the country’s space exploration.

The launch will begin the first of the 11 missions needed to complete, supply and crew the station by the end of next year.

China’s space program has recently brought back a new lunar sample for the first time in more than 40 years, and plans to land a spacecraft and rover on the surface of Mars later next month.

A few minutes after the launch, the fairing was opened, exposing the Tianhe above the rocket’s core stage, and adorning the outside with the “Chinamand Space” character. Shortly thereafter, it separated from the rocket orbiting for about a week before falling to Earth, and a few minutes later opened the solar array to provide a stable energy source.

The space program is a great source of public pride, with Prime Minister Li Keqiang and other top civilian and military leaders watching the launch from Beijing’s control center live. The Wenchang launch site of the staff, is the leader of the state, was also read a message of congratulations from the Xi Jinping leader of the ruling Communist Party.

The launch will facilitate a “three-step” strategy to build China’s manned space program and mark “an important major project to build a powerful country in science and technology and aerospace,” Xi’s message said. Stated.

The core module is the section of the station where astronauts live for up to 6 months at a time. With 10 more launches, two more modules will be transmitted, where the crew will experiment, with four freighters and four missions by the crew.

At least 12 astronauts have been trained to fly and live at the station, including veterans, newcomers and women from previous flights, and the first crew mission, Kamifune-12, will be completed by June. It will be launched.

Completed by late 2022, the T-shaped Chinese space station is expected to weigh about 66 tonnes, much smaller than the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998, to about 450 tonnes when completed. Become.

Tianhe has a docking port that can also connect to the powerful Chinese space satellites. In theory, it can be extended to up to 6 modules. The station is designed to operate for at least 10 years.

The Tianhe is about the same size as the US Skylab space station in the 1970s and the former Soviet / Russian meal that has been in operation for over 14 years since its launch in 1986.

The core module provides living space for up to six astronauts when the crew changes, while the other two modules, Wentian (“Exploration of Heaven”) and Mentian (“Dream of Heaven”), It provides room for conducting science. Experiments involving the nature of medicine and the space environment.

China began working on the space station project in 1992, just as its ambitions for space materialized. The need to do it alone became more urgent after being excluded from the International Space Station, primarily due to the secret nature of China’s programs and US opposition to close military ties.

After years of successful launches of rockets and commercial satellites, China launched its first astronaut into space in October 2003, making it the third independent country after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

In addition to more crew missions, China has launched a pair of experimental single-module space stations — Tiangong-1 meaning “Tiangong-1” and its successor, Tiangong-2. .. The first burned out after loss of contact and the orbit decayed, and the second succeeded in getting out of orbit in 2018.

The crew of Tiangong-2 boarded the ship for 33 days.

NASA needs permission from a reluctant parliament to contact China’s space program, but other countries have been far less reluctant. European countries and the United Nations are expected to cooperate with the experiments conducted at the completed Chinese base.

China is pursuing a crew-free mission, especially in lunar exploration, and the launch took place as it landed a rover on the other side of the moon, which was barely explored. In December, the Chang’e 5 spacecraft returned the moon rocks to Earth for the first time since the US mission in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, a rover-equipped Chinese spacecraft is scheduled to land on Mars around mid-next month, making China the second-largest country after the United States.

The Tianwen-1 spacecraft has been orbiting the red planet since February while collecting data. The Zhurong Rover is looking for evidence of life.

Another Chinese program aims to collect soil from asteroids, which is an important focus of Japan’s space program.

China is planning another mission to reclaim a sample of the Moon in 2024, stating that it wants to land people on the Moon and perhaps build a scientific foundation there. No timeline for such a project has been proposed. A very secret spaceplane is also reported to be under development.

China has been more cautious and cautious than the United States and the Soviet Union during the height of the Space Race.

One of the recent retreats occurred in 2017 when the Long March 5 rocket failed during the development of the Long March 5B used to orbit the Tianhe, which caused only a short delay. It was.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

China launches key part of first permanent space station | News

Source link China launches key part of first permanent space station | News

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