China launches second space station module
Science & Technology
29th Jul, 2022
China recently launched the second of three modules needed to complete its new space station.
About Wentian lab module:
- It is the largest and heaviest the country ever sent off to its space station complex that's under construction.
- Weighing 23 tonnes, the Wentian lab module is 17.9 meters long with a diameter of 4.2 meters.
- It consists of three parts:
- a work cabin,
- an airlock cabin and
- a resource cabin
- Compared with the Tianhe core module, which is already operating, Wentian is larger and heavier, outcompeting the core module in power supply and information transmission.
- Wentian was propelled by a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang launch centre on China's tropical island of Hainan.
- Beijing launched the central module of its space station Tiangong -- which means "heavenly palace" -- in April 2021.
- Almost 60 feet long and weighing 22 tonnes, the new module has three sleeping areas and space for scientific experiments.
- It will dock with the existing module in space, a challenging operation that experts said will require several high-precision manipulations and the use of a robotic arm.
- Wentian will also serve as a backup platform to control the space station in the event of a failure.
- The final module to complete the space station is scheduled to dock in October, and Tiangong is expected to become fully operational by the end of the year.
- The station will then assume its final T-shape, and be similar in size to the former Russian-Soviet Mir station.
- Its lifespan should be at least 10 years.
- The world's second-largest economy has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a permanently crewed space station and eventually sending humans to the Moon.