Earlier this week, China launched the core module for its new space station. The module is called Tianhe and means harmony of the heavens. It launched on Wednesday April 28 with a Long March-5B Y2 rocket from a launch site in China’s Hainan Province.
Tianhe is the very first module of a space station, which after its completion will be significantly smaller than today’s ISS in orbit. The module itself is the largest spaceship China has ever developed. It measures 54.4 feet long, 13.8 feet wide at its widest point, and 22.5 tons when it takes off. China is currently reviewing an ambitious plan to complete its space station with the help of partner countries and will need ten launches to get all of the components for the space station into orbit.
The USA is not one of the partner countries that is working with China on its space station. From the beginning, China was not allowed to participate in the International Space Station, not even for fear that the nation would engage in espionage and steal technological secrets from partner countries. The ten additional launches that China will make will take place between 2021 and 2022.
The launches include two more modules being put into orbit, four crew missions, and four cargo ship flights. China will rely on three different types of Long March missiles to propel the ten missions into the sky.
Officials from the China Academy of Space Technology previously stated that the space station will support six astronauts at the same time. Chinese officials say a sustainable president in orbit will enable the country to conduct research and provide other services. The launch and deployment of the core module for the space station was hailed as a complete success by the Chinese authorities.
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