China aspires to “heavenly harmony” in space
It has made a quantum leap in the research of the universe
Monday – 11 Dhu al-Qi’dah 1442 AH – 21 June 2021 AD Issue No. [
A model of the Chinese space station to be assembled in space
Washington: Nimrata Goswami
Last Thursday, China launched the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft with three astronauts on board a Long March-2FY12 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia. This was the first batch of astronauts to reach the 22-ton Tianhe (meaning “harmony, or harmony, heavenly” in Arabic) module and launched into low Earth orbit in April, and is currently awaiting assembly and construction in orbit to complete the station. China’s Tiangong satellite by next year.
Chinese satellite station
Tianhe plays the role of a management and control center and accommodates three astronauts for a period of three to six months, which if successful, would be the longest space stay for Chinese astronauts in low Earth orbit. The previous longest stay of Chinese astronauts in low Earth orbit was for thirty-three days aboard the Tiangong 2 module. It should be noted that “Tianhe” is the largest spacecraft built by China and launched into space to this day.
Two additional laboratory units, Wentian (Arabic for “seeking heaven”) and Mengtian (Arabic for “dreaming of the sky”) are supposed to be connected to Tianhe by 2022, with a combined weight of 66 tons. After the spacecraft dock with Tianhe during loading and transport missions and other human missions, the weight will rise up to 100 tons. The Tiangong space station is designed to last for ten years, and its service life can be extended up to 15 years by carrying out the necessary maintenance and modifications. In light of the talk about the retirement of the International Space Station, whose funding ends in 2024, it seems that the Chinese station will be the only option for human presence and scientific research in low Earth orbit after this date.
China’s global capabilities
The Tiangong Space Station is a very important development in China’s space infrastructure.
> First, China intends to develop its capabilities to assemble a space station in the form of the Latin letter “T” consisting of several units, and to find ways to support human life in low Earth orbit for long periods. The Chinese astronauts will learn to do activities outside of vehicles and work with mechanical arms to carry out installation, testing and modernization operations in orbit. In an official statement, Bai Linhuo, deputy head of the Chinese space station design department at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, which operates under the supervision of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said: “We will learn how to assemble, operate and maintain spacecraft in orbit, and intend to turn Tiangong into a laboratory. A government-level space station that supports the long stay of astronauts and high-level scientific and technical experiments and applications… It is also expected that this station will contribute to the peaceful development and use of space resources in cooperation with other countries, in addition to enhancing technologies and experiences for China’s future explorations in deep space. For the first time, Chinese astronauts will recycle urine into distilled water and increase its purity for use in the electrical generation of oxygen. This is a new step for China since it sent its first human expedition to the “Tiangong 2” station, with a stock of water and oxygen from the ground, because the stay of its astronauts was short. But the six-month missions require a more sophisticated alien life system. Recycling the water helps lighten the load on cargo ships and reduces the operational costs of the space station.
> Second, the development of space station technologies to include a life support system will contribute to expanding China’s space capabilities to achieve its goals on the moon, which include a robotic base for research and a human presence on its surface. “The life support system is an indispensable necessity for astronauts to stay on the moon or explore deep space,” Bai added in his statement. We will develop this technology step by step, from recycling water and oxygen in Tiangong, to growing vegetables and crops in space to achieve gradual self-sufficiency in food.”
> Third, the construction of the Chinese space station is of international strategic importance because it provides an alternative to the International Space Station for conducting scientific research in space and launching astronauts from allied countries of China. In May 2018, China, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, launched an invitation to host those wishing to conduct scientific experiments on its space station. China selected nine out of 42 applications submitted for this purpose from institutions in Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland. Applicants seek to conduct research in several fields, most notably medicine, bioengineering, microgravity, the effects of space radiation, and plant cultivation. The Tiangong station is scheduled to host 14 internal ports and 50 external ports for space science experiments.
space solar energy
Fourth, in-orbit construction and assembly logistics will help develop a comprehensive Chinese space station that lives up to the country’s goals of building solar-powered satellites in geosynchronous geosynchronous orbit, and sending future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. The “Beidou” navigation system developed by China, for example, played a key role in the launch and docking of the “Tianzhou 2” cargo space ship, which carried about 6.8 tons of supplies, with the “Tianhe” unit on May 29. Unlike Tianzhou 1, which took two days to arrive and required human assistance to dock with Tiangong 2 in 2017, Tianzhou 2 successfully auto-guided itself and docked with Tianhe within eight hours of launch, using location data provided by the Tianhe system. “Bido”. This short docking time indicates that China has the ability to respond quickly in emergencies, take disaster relief measures, and rescue astronauts when needed. Moreover, short docking times reduce cost and enhance the ability to collect a greater number of biological samples, which together aim to develop durable and mature robotic capabilities, as well as a system of biorenewable life support in space, which China is working to achieve.
Fifthly, the Chinese space station will have two docking ports that will connect to two capsules containing two laboratories, and three docking ports to the “Tianhe” unit. This order is intended to help China develop the necessary simultaneous docking capabilities and to add an additional unit to the space station if needed.
Sixthly, in addition to building its own space station, China is seeking to launch the “Xuntian” telescope unit (meaning in Arabic “Scans of the Heavens”), which is equivalent to the famous “Hubble” telescope with accuracy, but with a field of view three hundred times greater. This telescope has many capabilities, most notably the ability to monitor near-Earth asteroids, to achieve China’s goals in mining and asteroid defense. In addition, the Xuntian will be in a parallel orbit to the space station and have the ability to dock with it, in order to facilitate maintenance and refueling operations and reduce their costs.
* Tribune Media Services
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