China will begin in the coming months the project to build its own space station in order to increase the capacity of flight and space exploration across the country. According to the SpaceNews website, the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) is in the final stages of launching manned rockets with the first module of Earth’s orbital installation, a cargo ship and a refueling spacecraft.
The proposal is to launch 11 missions (ongoing since 1992) and seek to establish a long-term manned presence in the orbit of the planet. Although the launch date has not been revealed, operations are scheduled for 2022.
“We will soon complete the construction of China’s first long-term manned orbital space station, reaching advanced world levels. It will be the place where we will carry out large-scale space scientific research, ”said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s human space flight program, in an interview with the country’s television network.
“We firmly believe that it will play an important role in the forefront of the scientific exploration of humanity and also in the development of our space technology”, he added. The space station itself can also be expanded from three to six modules. According to the scientist, the mission crew has already been selected, but it will only be released shortly before launch.
According to the National Space Administration of China (CMSA), the main module of the future station is in its final phase at the factory located in the port city of Tianjin. Then, all components will be transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center, on the northeast coast of Hainan Island, from where it will depart towards the agency’s goal.
The Tianhe module will also serve as accommodation for three astronauts during the six-month period. In addition, it will include a plug-in hub and will control the station’s orbit and attitude. In 2022, the country also plans to send a space telescope similar to the Hubble, called Xuntian, to join the future space station, as well as assist in possible maintenance and repairs.