China Completes Final Development Phase of Tiangong Space Station – Ready for Launch?

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Chinese astronauts have completed the final phase of development of the Tiangong space station by positioning one of the laboratory modules in its final location, according to a report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The space station’s robotic arm was initially used to detach the Wentian lab module from the front port of the Tianhe core module before slowly pressing it into the side port.

The Mengtian lab module, which will eventually be attached to the opposite side port to create a T-shaped space station, will launch later this month, marking the start of the next phase of development.

(Photo: CNS/AFP via Getty Images)
The rocket carrying China’s second module for its Tiangong space station takes off from Wenchang Spaceport in southern China on July 24, 2022. – China on July 24 launched the second of three modules needed to complete its new space station, State media reported the latest step in Beijing’s ambitious space program.

First for China

According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the hour-long operation, a first for the country’s space program, was carried out by the three astronauts aboard the Tiangong and engineers from the ground command center.

Wei Zhi, an engineer from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, said in an interview with The Beijing News that it is safer to anchor the modules in the front before moving them to the side later to reduce the possibility that the heavy modules tip over. the space station out of balance and make it “out of control”.

The Mengtian Laboratory module and the Long March rocket that will help the station fly into space are already being assembled at the Wenchang Space Launch Site on the southern island of Hainan.

The launch is scheduled for the end of the month, a source familiar with CMSA operations told SMCP, as all assembly and testing activities are already progressing efficiently so far.

Read also: China: Wentian Module Docks on Tiangong Space Station – Focused on research, more room to sleep

Space lab modules

The two space lab modules will provide a pressurized environment for astronauts and researchers to perform free-fall or weightless tests not possible on Earth after the launch and installation of the Mengtian module.

They will also allow for testing outside the module to examine how solar radiation and cosmic winds affect materials that will be used in harsh working environments.

Two astronauts working on the space station, Mission Commander Chen Dong and Crew Member Liu Yang, conducted a six-hour spacewalk on September 1 to set up emergency protocols and prepare the module Wentian for the operation.

The airlock cabin of the Wentian laboratory module was first used by the space crew to exit the space station.

They traveled to the space station in early June with their teammate Cai Xuzhe and will stay there for six months. When the Shenzhou 15 mission launches later this year, they will be joined by three other astronauts, making six crew members stationed on board for the first time.

Related article: China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter has captured new images of the entire planet Mars

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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla

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