General, Research, Technology

China has begun construction of its space station. What does it consist of and what is it for?

Heavy launch vehicle "Changzheng-5V" successfullylaunched the first module of the Chinese orbital station into low-earth orbit. In the future, two more modules will join it, so that in the end we get a design like the Soviet Mir station and the International Space Station. Inside this spacecraft taikonauts will be able to conduct scientific research andastronomical observations. The construction of the structure has already begun, so in the future a lot of materials on this topic will appear on our website. Therefore, now I propose to find out what modules the Chinese station will consist of, what each of them is needed for, and when it will start its work. Let's also talk a little about the previous orbital stations in China - why were they not as interesting as the construction under construction?

Launch of the Changzheng-5V rocket with the first module of the Chinese orbital station

Taikonauts it is customary to call astronauts from China. One of the most famous taikonauts is Jing Haipeng, who spent a total of 47 days in space.

Construction of a Chinese orbital station

The basic module launched into orbit is called"Tianhe" and includes living space, a compartment with equipment and docking areas with other modules and ships. The residential module has a kitchen, a toilet and a device for communication with the Earth. It is expected that the taikonauts will be able not only to live there, but also to conduct scientific experiments. You can go into outer space through the airlock in the residential module. The station will be able to accommodate three people, but when the crew changes, up to 6 taikonauts can be on board. Crew changes will take place every 40 days.

Schematic representation of the future station

They also wanted to include in the design of the stationTelescope "Xuntian", but then it was decided to make it an autonomous module. It will not be attached to the station, but they will move in the same orbit. Occasionally the telescope will approach one of the docking stations and the taikonauts will be able to manually adjust and repair the built-in equipment.

Approximate appearance of the Xuntian telescope

It is expected that the Chinese orbital stationwill last about 10 years, but if it continues to work properly, the service life may well increase. The mass of the station, excluding space and cargo ships, will be 60 tons, that is, it will be 7 times less than the International Space Station. Solar panels will be used to generate energy. However, they are used in almost all space technology, even in the Martian Ingenuity helicopter.

See also: Why is it impossible to clean the dirtiest compartment of the ISS?

Orbital stations of China

It should be noted that this is far from the firstorbital station of China. In 2011, the Tiangong-1 spacecraft was launched into orbit of our planet, which became the first to which the Chinese spacecraft “Shenzhou” could dock. In 2018, the operation of the station was terminated and it fell into the Pacific Ocean. In September 2016, China also launched the Tiangong 2 station, which was set up to test whether the taikonauts could live inside a multi-module station under construction. It turned out that yes, so the second station in China also went out of orbit and this happened in 2019.

Chinese station "Tiangong-1"

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The Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 apparatus are not sointeresting as a station under construction because they were very small. It was impossible to live inside it for a long time and the scope of scientific experiments was severely limited. But the station, which will start operating in about 2022, will provide Chinese scientists with much more opportunities.