Module launch brings China closer to space station goal | Space News

The module is the second of three launched as far as Beijing hopes to finish its area station by the top of the 12 months.

China has launched the second of the three principal modules that may make up its deliberate area station, bringing Beijing a step nearer to assembly the formidable objective of getting the orbiting outpost totally operational by the top of the 12 months.

The 23-tonne laboratory module – known as Wentian, which suggests “quest for the heavens” – was carried into area by China’s strongest rocket, the Lengthy March 5B, following a 2:22pm (6:22 GMT) launch aired dwell on the state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday.

The rocket took off from the Wenchang Area Launch Heart on the southern island of Hainan, with CCTV reporting half-hour later that the launch was “an entire success”.

The lift-off comes after Beijing despatched into orbit the primary module of its area station in April 2021.

The brand new module, about 18 metres (60 toes) lengthy, will nonetheless must dock with the module already in area.

If that’s profitable, the third and remaining module is scheduled to launch in October, with officers hoping the area station – named Tiangong, which suggests “heavenly palace” – will probably be operational by the top of the 12 months.

China’s plans for its closely promoted “area dream”, which seeks to meet up with america and Russia, have been put into overdrive below President Xi Jinping.

The area station’s completion is about to coincide with the Chinese language chief marking 10 years in energy.

China has been excluded from the Worldwide Area Station since 2011, when the US banned NASA, considered one of 5 area businesses taking part within the challenge, from partaking with the nation.

Chinese astronauts
Chinese language taikonauts Cai Xuzhe, Chen Dong and Liu Yang pose throughout a ceremony previous to a mission to work on the development of China’s area station [File: China Out/AFP]

Nonetheless, China’s area programme has made strides in recent times, sending probes to the moon, the place Beijing plans to construct a base, and final 12 months touchdown a rover on Mars.

The module launched on Sunday has three sleeping areas, in addition to an area for scientific experiments. It would function the principle exit-entry level for extravehicular actions when the station is accomplished.

The launch was unmanned, though three Chinese language taikonauts are presently on board the already orbiting portion of the area station.

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