Middle East

China launches second of three space station modules

China launched the second of the three modules needed to complete the new space station on Sunday, state media reported. This is the latest step in Beijing’s ambitious space program.

An unmanned aircraft named Wentian was propelled by the Long March 5 rocket at 2:22 pm (Greenwich Mean Time 0622) from the Wenchang launch site on the tropical Hainan island of China.

Fifteen minutes later, officials from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) confirmed the “success” of the launch.

Hundreds of people gathered on a nearby beach to take pictures of the launcher ascending in the air in the smoke of white smoke.

After about eight minutes of flight, “Wentian’s lab module successfully separated from the rocket, entered its intended orbit, and the launch was completely successful,” CMSA said.

Beijing launched the central module of the space station Tiangong (meaning “Tiangong”) in April 2021.

Approximately 18 meters (60 feet) long and weighing 22 tons (48,500 lbs), the new module has three sleeping areas and space for scientific experiments.

It docks with existing modules in space, the challenging operations that experts have said will require some precision operations and the use of robotic arms.

“This is the first time China has docked such a large vehicle, and this is a subtle operation,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Center.

He said the space station would be “a fairly unusual L-shape” and would require a lot of power to maintain stability until the next module arrives.

“These are all technical challenges that the Soviet Union pioneered at Mir base in the late 1980s, which is new to China,” he told AFP.

“But it will bring a much more capable station with the space and power to carry out more scientific experiments.”

Wentian also acts as a backup platform for controlling the space station in the event of a failure.

The third and final module is scheduled to dock in October, and the Tiangong, which should have a lifespan of at least 10 years, is expected to be fully functional by the end of the year.

-Fast-paced space program-

Under China’s President Xi Jinping, the country’s plans for its highly promoted “space dream” have gone too far.

China has made great strides in catching up with the United States and Russia, where astronauts and astronauts have decades of experience in space exploration.

“CSS (China’s space station) will be completed in a year and a half, which is the fastest modular space station in history,” said Chen Lan, an analyst at site Go-Taikonauts.com. increase. Specializes in China’s space program.

“By comparison, the construction of Mir and the International Space Station took 10 and 12 years, respectively.”

China’s space program has already landed Rover on Mars and sent a spacecraft to the Moon.

In addition to the space station, Beijing plans to build a base on the Moon and send humanity to it by 2030.

China has been excluded from the International Space Station since 2011, when the United States banned NASA’s involvement.

China has no plans to use the space station for global cooperation on an ISS scale, but said Beijing is open to cooperation with foreign countries.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/721558/China-launches-second-of-three-space-station-modul China launches second of three space station modules

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