May 23, 2016

Chinese Space Station

Spaceflight Insider: The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented several slides of the design of its future space station, called Tiangong 3—meaning “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese. The station is expected to be built between 2018 and 2022. by Tomasz Nowakowski

'According to the released slides, the station’s core module, “Tianhe 1” (which means “galaxy”), will include a laboratory with integrated modular racks for storing scientific equipment. It will also have five docking ports and a robotic arm.

'With a mass of about 24 tons (22 metric tons), this module will be 59 feet (18.1 meters) long and 14 feet (4.2 meters) in diameter. Tianhe 1 is expected to launch sometime in 2018, most likely atop a Long March 5 booster, and will serve as a docking hub for future modules and resupply spacecraft.

'Tiangong 3 will have two science modules: “Wengtian” and “Mengtian”. These modules are planned to be used for performing scientific research in microgravity. Both will be 47 feet (14.4 meters) long and will have the same maximum diameter and launch weight as the core module.

'Popular Science reports Wengtian will be fitted with a set of internal modular racks for scientific missions. It will also have its own small robotic arm to assist taikonauts in conducting experiments out in the vacuum of space. The site noted that Mengtian will have a docking port for interfacing with spacecraft, capable of supporting other modules and spaceships for logistics and repair.'

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