Tianhe: China launched the first module of its future space station

China has just sent the very first module of the future “Chinese Space Station” into Tianhe space. The latter is the next place of life for the astronauts who will go there. It is also the first stage of a dozen missions scheduled until 2022.

Tianhe
Tianhe takeoff, Ju Zhenhua and Xinhua image via AFP

A few days after the launch of Crew Dragon taking Thomas Pesquet to the ISS, China has just propel the Tinahe module in space, from the island of Hainan. This is the first of the three elements that will shape the future chinese space station (CSS), operational by the year 2022. A very ambitious project for Beijing, which wants to compete with ESA and NASA.

Tianhe, the first module of the Chinese space station, is in space

China is embarking on manned missions in orbit with the presence of permanent astronauts in space. Indeed, public television CCTV has just broadcast live the launch of the Longue-Marche 5B rocket from the Wenchang launch center on the tropical island of Hainan in the south of the country.

The purpose of this maneuver was to send into space the first of three modules of a future Chinese space station aimed at “competing” with the ISS. This first module is called Tianhe, meaning “heavenly harmony” in Chinese. The one that we call for the moment by the acronym of CSS for “Chinese Space Station” will be located in low earth orbit (between 340 and 450 km above sea level) by 2022. Its envisaged lifespan is about 10 to 15 years maximum.

See also: Russia and China to jointly deploy space station around the Moon

When assembled, the Chinese space station will weigh more than 90 tons ; it will also be three times smaller than the ISS. When au module Tianhe propelled into space yesterday, the latter is 16.6 meters long with a diameter of 4.2 meters. He will be the living room of future Chinese astronauts. It will also be the station’s control center.

« It will serve as a base for larger-scale operations: manned missions to the Moon, space tourism, space science or even concrete applications for humans. Chen Lan, an analyst specializing in the Chinese space program, told the trade press.

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