The Wentian laboratory module has efficiently docked with the Tiangong area station
China has expanded its orbital area station, Tiangong, with the primary of two deliberate lab modules, based on state media. It marks a significant milestone for Beijing’s human area program, which it was compelled to pursue alone after being barred from the Worldwide Area Station.
The lab module named Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) efficiently docked with the entrance port of the core module Tianhe at 3:13am Monday Beijing Time, roughly 13 hours after its launch on Sunday, the China Manned Area Company introduced, based on Xinhua.
Three Chinese language astronauts, who’re presently on a six-month mission in orbit aboard the Tiangong (which interprets as “Heavenly palace”), oversaw the arrival and docking, however have but to enter the brand new module. The trio – commander Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe – are half the Shenzhou-14 mission, throughout which the Chinese language area station is ready to obtain one other module and change into totally operational.
The 23-tonne Wentian is round 18 meters lengthy and 4.2 meters in diameter. Whereas designed primarily as a platform for scientific experiments in ecology, biotechnology and gravity, it would additionally present further sleeping areas for the crew, in addition to an additional bathroom and kitchen. In line with CGTN, the spacecraft additionally introduced a further robotic arm, which is smaller than the one already put in on Tiangong, and designed for extra exact and delicate operations.
The station’s first core module was introduced into orbit final April, whereas the third named Mengtian (“Dreaming of Heavens”) is awaiting launch in October 2022. With the addition of those two segments, Tiangong shall be formally totally operational, weighing about 66 tons, or roughly half the scale of the Soviet Mir, which so far was the primary and solely repeatedly inhabited multi-modular station developed and operated by a single state.
The mission of the Tiangong is predicted to final greater than a decade. Nonetheless, China has not dominated out that its lifespan could be extended, whereas the preliminary three-module configuration could also be expanded to 6 sooner or later.
China will not be a member of the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) program, as US legal guidelines prohibit NASA from participating in direct collaboration with the Beijing authorities or any China-affiliated organizations over fears of spying and know-how theft by the nation’s navy, regardless of Beijing’s assurances that its functions are purely peaceable.
Then again, Beijing has invited overseas astronauts to hitch the mission aboard the area station and conduct analysis alongside its crew, with Chinese language International Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin saying in April that China was “able to cooperate with all nations.”