Chinese Space Station: The International Space Station will no longer be the only place in space where humans live. 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’. In Mandarin, ‘Tiangong’ means ‘Palace of Heaven’. The three astronauts who went into space under this mission will replace the crew already there, which has helped in the construction of the station. With the success of this mission, China has become the third country in the world to run its own permanent space station.
China’s position will be strengthened in space
With this success, China’s position will be strengthened between the two top space powers of the world 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.
Unlike the US-led International Space Station, Tiangong is entirely built and operated by China. The successful opening of the station is one of the exciting moments in science. Along with this, the station also throws light on the policy of self-reliance of the country. Apart from this, it is an important step for China towards achieving big space ambitions amid the changing landscape of power in space.
What are the capabilities of the Chinese Space Station?
China’s human space program has completed the Tiangong space station in three decades.
The station is 180 feet (55 m) tall and consists of three ‘modules’ that were combined into space after being launched separately.
These include a core ‘module’ where up to six astronauts can live. Apart from this, there are two modules of 3,884 cubic feet (110 cubic meters).
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.
Like China’s aircraft carriers and other spacecraft, the Tiangong is based on a Soviet-era design. It is very similar to the Soviet space station ‘Mir’ of the 1980s. But Tiangong station has been modernized a lot.
What is China’s strategy?
The Chinese space station can remain in orbit for 15 years. In which there is a plan to send operational teams and cargo missions for six months every year. Scientific tests have already started in the station. It begins with a planned study of monkey reproduction 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.
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