China Space Station (CSS)
China’s activity in space has increased over the past few years. According to research, China has as much debris as USA or Russia in space. However, China has been in space for quite a short time compared to the other countries. Today, China engages in space science. It is a way to stimulate and demonstrate advances in engineering and science.
China Space Station (CSS) is still under construction in Sichuan Province.
China officially approved its space station programme in 1992. It is a 3-step plan named Project 91. It began by first developing a human-rated rocket and spacecraft. They would then orbit Tiangong space labs. Finally, they would construct a modular space station in low earth orbit.
Development of China Space Station
In 1999, China launched the first Long March 2F rockets which had no crew. They intended to test Shenzhou spacecraft. Two years later, another spaceship got launched. It carried animals to test the life support systems in space. Animals used included a monkey, dog, rabbit and snails.
In October 2003, Liu Yang became the first Chinese astronaut (taikonaut) in space aboard Shenzhou 5. For this reason, China became the third country to independently move a human being into space.
In 2011, Tiangong 1 spacecraft launched. Moreover, it operated in space for four and a half years.
In September 2016, Tiangong 2 which is still in space got launched. This spaceship is testing the possibility of human life in space.
In October 2016, China sent two astronauts to space. The astronauts lived and worked in space for 33 days. Most noteworthy, this was China’s longest crewed mission so far.
Shenzhou 11 and Tianhe 1 further verified the spacecraft system.
Subsequently, these tests marked the beginning of the construction of the China Space Station. Once completed, the 60-tonne space station will hopefully be operational for 10 years. It will be fully operational by the year 2022.
The International Space Station of the United State will orbit space until 2024. As such, China will be the only country in the universe with a permanent space station.
Furthermore, China plans to open the space station to other nations to carry out their experiments.
Design of China Space Station
Most noteworthy, some parts of the space station are ready. One of them is the core module, referred to as the ‘Harmony of Heaven’ or Tianhe 1. This module launches into orbit in 2020.
The core module is the first of the three 20 metric tonne modules that will make up the China Space Station. Tianhe will have living quarters for the crew. This is well-designed space for their daily life and rest. Additionally, a control compartment will be present. It will help to collect information on flight posture and manned environment. The station has the capability to recycle water produced from respiration and excretion.
China Space Station will locomote by use of two flexible solar wings. Each wing spans to a length of thirty metres. Besides that, it will also make use of biaxial sun pointing mechanisms. This will use high-efficiency lithium batteries to make an efficient power system.
Coupled with that, two robotic arms with a length of 50 metres will help in the installation of experiments.
A space station cannot be fully operational without the ability to send food and fuel supplies to the crew. Currently, China is performing docking and refueling tests. These tests are usually run between the cargo spaceship and Tiangong 2.
The space station will host six astronauts for 180-day periods in space. It will be orbiting the earth at altitudes of between 340 to 450 kilometres. In contrast, the International Space Station orbits space at an altitude of 400 kilometres.
Reasons for the China Space Station
First of all, a cold atomic clock in space will get tested. This is the first of its kind. China has access to the most accurate clock in existence. It only has a one-second error in 30 million years.
Also, the China Space Station intends to collect data about the dark side of the moon. This, the Chinese believe, will increase their presence in space. At the same time, China is in the process of constructing a simulation lab for planet Mars in the Tibetan Desert. This lab will train astronauts for missions in planet Mars.
In addition to that, China intends to assess the possibility of planting crops in orbit. Food is an essential part of life. Certainly, China wishes to feed its entire population comfortably. Therefore, China wants to inhabit space in the future.
In conclusion, China has a bright future in space. The country is in its economic boom and on a spending spree. Availability of money and other resources gives China sufficient room for research and development.