China’s upcoming space station to work by 2022

A model of the space station from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

CHINA’s space station will become a common home in space for all humankind. The Chinese Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world, observed Shi Zhongjun, China’s ambassador to the UN in Vienna. In his words “outer space should become a new domain for promoting the common interests of everyone, rather than a new battlefield for confrontation.
 China wants world to collaborate in experiments on its planned space station so as to promote international space cooperation and sustainable global development, Xinhua reported on 5 August   2018. The Committee on Science and Technology Experiments of the Chinese Space Station was established under the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The offer is open to the entire international community. “We are looking forward to experiments to better sustain space exploration. We also expect China’s space station to be an in-space incubator of new technologies that can improve people’s lives,” said Zhang Hongtai, president of CAST.
“China is further opening up, and space exploration is a shared challenge for China and other countries. We hope to solicit and evaluate experiments with common international practices, and select the most promising and innovative projects. The research data will be shared by the international community,” said Bao Weimin, chairman of the newly established committee and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Successful 2003 flight of Shenzhou 5
The first Chinese crewed space programme began when an accelerated programme of technological development culminated in Yang Liwei’s successful 2003 flight aboard Shenzhou 5. This achievement made China the third country to independently send humans into space. Plans currently include a permanent Chinese space station in 2020 and crewed expeditions to the Moon.
China is going to start sending parts of its future space station into space in 2020, with the aim of having it up and running by 2022. The country’s space agency invited countries to come and carry out research on the facility.
China could extend plans for its space station by adding further modules to the planned orbital complex, a senior space official has stated.
It is a welcome gesture of international cooperation, particularly as the International Space Station starts winding down. “In a way, the lockout by foreign nations has helped China achieve innovation,” the station’s chief designer Yang Hong told state broadcaster CCTV.

Chief architect Yang Hong

Chief architect Yang Hong
Professor Yang Hong, academician of International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), is now serving as the Chief Designer of Chinese Space Station. He was deputy Chief Designer of Shezhou-4/5/6 manned spacecraft from 2002 to 2005, and the Chief Designer of Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-1 from 2006 to 2011. He has made great contributions to the success of launch and on-orbit operation of Shouzhou spacecraft and Tiangong-1 space laboratory.
Yang Hong is the chief architect of the space lab system for China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. From the spacecrafts Shenzhou-1 to Shenzhou-5, he has witnessed the country’s milestones in manned space missions. Now his efforts have paid off.
“We will develop and send one core module and two experiment modules to space. Together they will form a T-shape structure, which weighs nearly 100 tons. When the space lab is put into operation, we will conduct scientific experiments to serve the country’s strategic development,” he explained.
China has developed the research technology for its own space station system. The International Space Station is set to retire in 2024. It is likely China will be the only country with a permanent space station at that time.
T-shape modules
China’s first space station will be made of three modules joined in a T shape, according to a handbook released on May 28, 2018 by China’s Manned Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. The station will weigh some 66 metric tons (72 tons), which is around one-sixth of the International Space Station. When docked with manned spaceships and cargo vehicles, the station may reach around 100 metric tons (110 tons).
The first module Tianhe-1, or “harmony of the heavens” was completed in 2017 and will be launched first. Weighing some 20 metric tons (22 tons), it’ll be the core module of the space station, where astronauts will stay. The space station is by far the largest and most complex spacecraft China has built yet, Yang, the chief designer, told the state broadcaster.
Space station Tianhe
A full-size model of the core module of China’s space station Tianhe made its debut on 07 November 2018 at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province.
The core module will mainly serve as the control and management aspect of the space station and for the astronauts’ living conditions. It will have autonomous flight capability, support the astronauts’ long-time stay in outer space and help them conduct experiments concerning aerospace medicine and space science.
The in-orbit construction of the space station is expected to be completed around 2022. It will be the country’s space lab in long-term stable in-orbit operation.
Likely to be launched in 2020
Tianhe-1 is expected to launch from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China in 2020, according to Zhou Jianping (video, link in Chinese), chief designer of China’s manned spacecraft program, which includes building the space station.  The other two experiment modules, Wentian, or “quest for the heavens,” and Mengtian, or “dreaming of the heavens,” will join it later. The space station could start operating in 2022.
All humankind’s home in space
“The China Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world,” said Shi Zhongjun, China’s ambassador to the UN in Vienna. “Outer space should become a new domain for promoting the common interests of everyone, rather than a new battlefield for competition and confrontation. Guided by the idea of a shared future, the China space station will become a common home in space for all humankind.”
“Shared future” is a term the country’s president Xi Jinping has often used since taking power in 2012. Chinahas been voicing the idea across basically every field of endeavour—from global trade to climate change.
Chinese space engineers are about 15 years younger on average than the average age of the space engineers in other countries, China Central Television reported. The booming development and proud feeling of being a space engineer has attracted young people’s attention. “Young space engineers and scientists are the hope for the development of China’s aerospace science and technology,” said Yang Hong, director-designer of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
— Internet

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