/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   Research in China

Planned Space Station Details Made Public

Apr 26, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

China has disclosed details of its future space station following the construction of one of its key parts by engineers.

The Chinese multimodule space station, named Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, will be mainly composed of three parts - a core module attached to two space labs - having a combined weight of 66 metric tons, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the nation's manned space program. Zhou spoke on Tuesday at a space industry conference in Harbin, provincial capital of Heilongjiang.

The station will become heavier with the gradual installation of equipment for experiments and docking by visiting spacecraft. It will be capable of docking with up to three spacecraft at a time, Zhou said.

The designer said once the station begins its operations in orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth, it will be manned by three astronauts in extended shifts that will last several months. During handovers between shifts, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts.

The station will be able to carry more than 10 tons of scientific and experimental equipment and it will have 26 internal payload cabinets, 67 external hatches designed to dock with medium-sized extravehicular apparatuses and four external points for towing large instruments.

The core module, Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens, will control the station and dock with visiting manned spacecraft and cargo ships, Zhou said. It will accommodate astronauts and contain supplies, and will be used to support astronauts' extravehicular activities.

The China Academy of Space Technology said this month that engineers have constructed the core module and are testing it.

The two space labs, Wentian, or Quest for Heavens, and Mengtian, or Dreaming of Heavens, will mainly perform scientific and technological experiments.

In addition, a space telescope will fly with the space station in the same orbit to perform observations of deep space and Earth. It will have a viewing angle 200 times wider than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, and will dock with the space station when it needs maintenance or refueling, Zhou said.

The astronauts will carry out experiments inside the space station in more than 10 scientific and technological fields such as space medicine, microgravity fluid physics and combustion and space material sciences, he said. The station also will be open to commercial activities to help foster China's space economy.

China will start putting together its first manned space station around 2020, according to government plans. First, a Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket, which is being developed by Chinese scientists, will put the station's core module into orbit that year. Next, about four manned spaceflights will be made to send astronauts to assemble the station.

The space station is expected to be fully operational around 2022 and is set to operate for at least 10 years, according to the China Manned Space Agency. In 2024, it likely will become the world's only space station if the United States-led International Space Station is retired that year as planned. (China Daily)

Attachment:

(Editor: LIU Jia)

Contact

Phone:
E-mail:

Related Articles

space station;core module

China May Have Sole Space Station After 2024: Expert

Apr 02, 2018

The core module of China's space station and its young development team are in the limelight, prompting speculations that China's space station will possibly be the only one orbiting after 2024. The complete space station will consist of one core modul...

space station

Space Station Core Enters Production

Mar 08, 2018

Engineers are assembling key module, rocket prototype. China will launch the core module of its manned space station around 2020 and is preparing the rocket that will lift the module. The development of the space station has entered a crucial stage, an...

space station;International Space Station;core module

China's Space Station Could Do Some ISS Work After 2024

Mar 06, 2018

China will launch the core module of its space station by around 2020, with observers predicting that China's space station could play an important role in continuing the work of the International Space Station. The launch of the core module is aimed a...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences