China is seeking to complete the space station, breaking the launch record in 2022
China is aiming to eclipse a new national launch record set last year, and to complete its three-module space station with six relevant missions in 2022.
The China National Space Administration prepares to launch two new space station modules, called Wentian and Mengtian, on separate Long March 5B rockets in the coming months.
The modules will be docked with the main Tianhe module launched in April 2021 to complete the T-shape Tiangun Space Station by the end of the year.
Related: The latest news about China’s space program
Preparations for both missions are going well. The third Long March 5B rocket has completed final assembly and testing and will be launched by Wentian closer to mid-year. The fourth Long March 5B Y4 is undergoing final assembly and will be launched by Mengtian in the second half of 2022, according to to the Chinese Academy of Launcher Technology (CALT).
The two modules weigh more than 44,100 pounds (20,000 kilograms) each and are primarily designed for scientific experiments. Wentian also has new gateways for extraterrestrial activities or space travel, and will add a second, smaller robotic arm to the space station.
A big robotic arm on Tianhe will grab and move new modules are in place after they dock with Tianhe.
“Once the T-shaped structure is formed, we will fully test the functions and characteristics of the space station as a whole. We anticipate that the space station will be operational by the end of the year,” said Bai Linhov, space station. This was announced by the Deputy Chief System Designer of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST). CCTV.
Video: See how the robotic arm of the Tiangong station moves in space
Wentian, or Experimental Module I, will serve as a backup of the main Tianhe module to increase the reliability and redundancy of the space station.
China will also launch two Tianzhou cargo spacecraft and two manned missions to Shenzhou as part of six space station missions scheduled for 2022.
In total, China plans to launch more than 140 spacecraft 50 launches in 2022, reports the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which owns CAST and CALT. CASC launched 48 Long March missiles in 2021.
Other notable missions include the second launch of Long March 8 without side amps from Wenchang and the first launch of Long March 6A. China’s commercial and private launchers will also promote rapid launch.
It is expected that at the end of 2022 the first rotation of the crew will take place in China, when two ships with a crew will be in orbit at the same time. Shenzhou 15 will launch and dock with Tianhe at the end of the year by joining the Shenzhou 14 crew on board. This will mean that China will have six astronauts in orbit at the same time.
There is also good news for the crew that continues Shenzhou 13 mission. Astronauts Zhai Zhigan, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu make the first “quick” return to Earth in Shenzhou, which means the crew must land just hours after disembarking from Tianhe, rather than spending 24 hours or more aboard its Shenzhou back capsule. .
Shenzhou-13 was launched on October 16, 2021 on the “Long March 2F” from the Jiuquan Satellite Center. Another “Long March 2F”, the 14th in the series, was in a state of practical readiness in the event of an emergency aboard the Tianhe.
Assuming the Shenzhou 13 mission will be completed safely, around March or April, the 14th Long March 2F will later launch Shenzhou 14 after delivering materials aboard the Tianzhou 4 cargo ship.
Then the 15th Long March 2F will be prepared in Jiuquan for emergency standby. “The Y15 rocket is being tested for final assembly in the workshop, and once all the work is done, it will be delivered to the launch base for the Jiuquan satellite base,” said Jin Muchun, chief designer of Long March 2F. CCTV.
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