China launches main part of its first permanent space station
- Posted By
Science & Technology
1st May, 2021
China recently launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest success for a program that has realized a number of its growing ambitions in recent years.
- The Tianhe module - which contains living quarters for crew members - was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on a Long March-5B rocket.
- China hopes to have the new station operational by 2022.
- The new, 66-tonne, multi-module Tiangong station is set to be operational for at least 10 years.
- Tianhe is the core component of it. It is 16.6m long and 4.2m wide.
- It will provide power and propulsion and contains the life support technologies and living quarters required by visiting astronauts.
China’s journey in space’s exploration
- The only space station currently in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS), from which China is excluded.
- The ISS is a collaboration between Russia, the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.
- The ISS is due to be retired after 2024, which could potentially leave Tiangong as the only space station in Earth's orbit.
- China has been a late starter when it comes to space exploration.
- It was only in 2003 that it sent its first astronaut into orbit, making it the third country to do so, after the Soviet Union and the US.