Bloomington: The International Space Station is no longer the only place humans can live off Earth. On November 29 this year, the Shenju 15 mission started from a place called Gobi Desert in China, through which three astronauts left for space. After six hours they reached their destination. China has recently built its own space station, named ‘Tiangong’. Tiangong means the Palace of Heaven in Mandarin. The three astronauts going to space as part of this mission will replace the crew already there, which helped build the station.
China became the third country in the world to run a space station
With the success of this mission, China has become the third country in the world to operate its own permanent space station. This success will strengthen China’s position among the world’s two top space powers like America and Russia. As space law and space policy scholars leading the Indiana University Osstrom Workshop’s Space Governance Program, we have been following the development of the Chinese space station with interest.
This space station is completely built in China
Unlike the US-led International Space Station, Tiangong is entirely built and operated by China. The successful launch of the station is one of the exciting moments in science. Along with this, the station also throws light on the country’s policy of self-reliance. Moreover, it is an important step for China towards achieving bigger space ambitions amid the changing landscape of power in space. – Chinese station capabilities – China’s human space program has completed the Tiangong space station in three decades.
How is the Chinese space station Tiangong
The station is 180 feet (55 m) tall and consists of three ‘modules’ that were combined into space after being launched separately. These consist of a core ‘module’ that can accommodate up to six astronauts. In addition there are two modules of 3,884 cubic feet (110 cubic metres). The station also has an external robotics section, which monitors activities and experiments outside the station. There are three docking ports for supply vehicles and manned spacecraft.
This station is based on Soviet era design
The Tiangong, like China’s aircraft carriers and other spacecraft, is based on Soviet-era designs. It is very similar to the Soviet space station ‘Mir’ of the 1980s. But Tiangong Station has been greatly modernized. The Chinese space station can stay in orbit for up to 15 years. In which there is a plan to send operational teams and cargo missions for six months every year.
China started scientific test
Scientific tests have already started in the station. It begins with a planned study involving monkey breeding, in the station’s biological test cabinet. Whether this study will be successful or not is a different matter. With the construction of Tiangong, China has become the only country to have a full-fledged space station and will compete with the NASA-led International Space Station (ISS), which was established in 1998.
(Eaton Tepper & Scott Shackleford, Indiana University) Bloomington (USA)