China goes ahead of the rest again - May 7the country's manned space flight department has announced the successful return of a new generation spacecraft to Earth. The test flight lasted almost 3 days - during this time the device was in orbit of the Earth, stayed there for a certain time and landed. The spacecraft was specially designed to transport astronauts to a new orbital station, which China wants to launch in the near future. ISS will not be needed soon?
The ship was launched into orbit with a new launch vehicle "Changzheng-5 B", the test flight was at an altitude of 300kilometers to 8,000 kilometers. The exact mass of the device remains unknown, but according to the design documentation, depending on the version, the ship weighs from 14 to 20 tons. China Space Agency officially recognized the test as successful, which means the Celestial Empire came close to the moment when it could already launch its own space station.
In addition to the ship itself, scientists conducted a testlubricants specially developed in China for work in zero gravity. No air leaks or other problems were found. Also, an installation for launching nanosatellites was placed on board the apparatus in order to verify its operation in space, and the compliance with living conditions was checked using several types of oilseeds.
How the ISS will be put into orbit
Since the launch of the device and its returnwere successful, now China is preparing to send into orbit the base module of its space station. This will happen during the second flight of “Changzheng-5 B” into orbit of the Earth. Engineers hope that the station will be able to work for many years and ultimately will change in orbit ISSwhich in 2024 should complete itswork. For this reason, China will systematically develop its space station, adding to it all new modules - their launches have already been scheduled for the next four years.
It is known that the new station will be called"Tiangong," which translates as "Heavenly Palace." To many, this word may seem familiar, and it really is. Earlier, China had already sent the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 spacecraft into space in 2011 and 2016, respectively, but due to malfunctions they had to be taken out of orbit and flooded in the Pacific Ocean.
The station has a length of 17 meters, a weight of 60 tons andcan accommodate three astronauts. Like the ISS, Tiangong will be able to connect new modules to expand its functionality. First, the rocket will put into orbit the first module (launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021), and then two more, which will allow for additional scientific experiments. Then the Chinese want to send the first astronauts to the new station.
China space station will be able to support being on it three astronauts for up to 180 days.
ISS only for China?
Will Russian or American astronauts be able tosettle on the new ISS? Technically, the new station will be owned by China, but will open its doors to all UN member countries, public and private organizations. So there is every chance that the composition of the astronauts will be not only the inhabitants of China. I think that Roskosmos will be able to agree on the basis of good relations with China, but as for the United States, everything is not so transparent. The life of the station is designed for 10 years, that is, if it works in 2022, it will be able to survive in orbit until 2032. 8 years longer than the ISS, which is in space now.
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Why did China decide to launch its ownspace station? The fact is that the United States banned the Chinese space agency from using the ISS "for security reasons." In 2011, the US Congress banned any space program collaboration between the United States and China. At the same time, NASA has already spent about $ 100 billion on maintaining the ISS. However, now many of those who supported the ISS are investing in the Chinese space station, writes Ars Technica. So, the European Space Agency agreed to cooperate with China.
And here the interesting question arises - will the USAput up with the fact that China will essentially become a monopolist in space? SpaceX launches and flights to the Moon and Mars - all this is good, but the ISS is the most important strategic object of the Earth in space. It is likely that the United States will launch its own space station - NASA and SpaceX have all the resources for this. As astronauts on the ISS say, in space there is no place for politics. But something tells me that the "earthly people" logic is completely different.
Where will the ISS fall?
What will happen to the ISS if NASA still decides morenot support its performance? After all the astronauts leave the station, the space agency will begin preparations for the removal of the ISS from orbit. The main part of the station will burn in the dense layers of the planet’s atmosphere, a small part of the debris will fall into the waters of the South Pacific. The final plan for the “destruction” of the ISS has not yet been approved, since it is not clear to the end whether it will be taken off orbit in 2024.