July 15, 2022

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Is Tiangong Chinese Space Station Complete?

Tiangong Space Station

Tiangong Space Station

Tiangong Space Station: China is hoping to pique public interest in space tourism by making its soon-to-be-completed Tiangong Chinese space station accessible to the general public.

Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut, told Chinese media earlier this month that people without official astronaut training could soon visit the Tiangong space station. Yang Liwei made history in 2003 when he became the country’s first astronaut in space.

When asked if the general public would be able to explore Tiangong, Yang stated, “It is not an issue of technology, but demand.” “And if there is enough demand, it can be realized within a decade.”

Yang was speaking on behalf of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is now meeting in Beijing for China’s annual political sessions.

Zhou Jianping, the main designer of China’s human spaceflight program, later claimed the country’s Shenzhou crew spacecraft might be used for space tourism, lending credence to the remarks.

Taken together, the remarks suggest that China is attempting to develop a space tourism business.

But First, China Must Finish and Fully Operationalize the Three-module T-shaped Space Station

This year, China wants to launch six missions to complete Tiangong. Shenzhou 14 and Shenzhou 15 will be launched, with two new modules, two cargo supply missions, and two crewed missions.

The two three-person missions will also be responsible for the first crew handover, which will see six astronauts temporarily stationed on the space station.

However, the Shenzhou spacecraft, which will launch from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert on a proven Long March 2F rocket, will not be the only way for visitors to travel to space.

According to Space.com, China is developing a reusable rocket for human spaceflight that would be capable of launching a new, larger, and largely reusable crew spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The new method would allow more individuals to travel to space at the same time.

Tiangong space station
Tiangong space station

Huang Kewu says that while the Shenzhou spacecraft can only transport three astronauts, the upcoming generation of crewed space vehicles will be able to transport six to seven people.

Last year, a human spaceflight official of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the country’s major space contractor, said.

Additionally, commercial possibilities are being developed. As early as 2025, CAS Space, a commercial spinoff of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), plans to offer tourist rides to space.

Blue Origin, it appears, has been a source of inspiration. Meanwhile, Space Transportation is working on a “rocket with wings” for space tourism and point-to-point travel, with a first suborbital flight planned for 2025. Orbital flights are expected to begin in 2030.

Last year, Wu Ji, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Space Science Center, told the Beijing Review that he thought Chinese enterprises will be able to compete in the global space tourism market.

“Commercial programs can assist cut costs and increase the efficiency of space activities, which would benefit both traditional players and newcomers to the field,” Wu added.

Although China’s first space tourism flights aren’t expected to take off for a few years, the country is committed to providing several routes for people to get to space.

The Tiangong Space Station’s Crew Prepares to Return to Earth

When the spacecraft passes over the Inner Mongolian landing site on Saturday, the three astronauts could be on their way home.

The trio worked on the space station for six months, conducting experiments, spacewalks, and building work.

As they approached their 180th day in space, the three astronauts on China’s Tiangong space station could return to Earth as soon as Saturday, according to state media.

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Although no official return date has been set, the space station’s current trajectory indicates that it will pass over the Dongfeng landing site in northern Inner Mongolia on Saturday morning, providing a window of opportunity to return.

Tiangong space station
Tiangong space station

They will return in the Shenzhou 13 spacecraft, which has been fitted with new equipment and will use a new flight path to assist reduce the return journey, according to state media.

The travel to the landing site is expected to take a little more than eight hours, which is 20 hours less than the previous mission’s return journey in September.

The astronauts are prepping the Tiangong space station – which means Heavenly Palace – for the arrival of the next crew, who are due to launch next month, as the final leg of their six-month mission.

The three — Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, and Ye Guangfu – will return with data from their orbital experiments.

Wang was the first Chinese woman to perform a spacewalk, one of two that were carried out to install hardware on the outside of the space station.

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Only the Tianhe core module of the space station is operating now, but full construction is set to begin next month.

Within the next 12 months, two more modules, Wentian and Mengtian, will be joined to the core module to complete the space station.

During this time of building, China will launch two more crewed spacecraft, Shenzhou 14 and 15, each carrying three astronauts on missions that will span six months.

The Shenzhou 14 is set to debut next month. The spacecraft, as well as the Long March rocket that will launch it into space, are already on standby in case an emergency rescue is required during the present mission.

According to the China Manned Space Engineering Office, the crews for the next two flights have already been chosen and are undergoing training, albeit they have not yet been identified.

Three of the 16 current duty astronauts — Deng Qingming, Cai Xuzhe, and Zhang Lu – have never gone to space before and may get the chance on future missions.

The Hubble Space Telescope Took Images of C/2014 Un271, a Comet

Because of its distance from Earth and the ‘coma’ cloud that surrounds it, astronomers believe it’s difficult to determine the exact size of a comet’s nucleus.

It’s nearly 50 times bigger than any other planet, with a diameter of 128 kilometers (80 miles) and a mass of up to 500 trillion tonnes.

Also read: All-Russian cosmonaut crew takes off to the International Space Station

According to specialists at a state laboratory in Macau, the size of the largest comet nucleus discovered by astronomers has been confirmed.

“It drew our interest instantly” when the comet was identified from archived observation data in June 2021, said Man-To Hui of the Macau University of Science and Technology, Taipa Macau, who is the lead author of the research published in Astrophysical Journal Letters last week.

Tiangong space station
Tiangong space station

“Comets are thought to be the most pristine objects in our solar system, and they nevertheless contain a wealth of knowledge about our solar system’s early history and evolution,” he said.