Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China’s bid to build and operate a space station by the close of 2022 involves its use to carry out a suite of scientific experiments. The Tianne core module of the station now circling the Earth is the first and main component of the station.

According to Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space engineering project, the country’s orbiting outpost will have onboard nine international scientific experiments, with a second batch of projects to be announced.

Credit: CAST

In selecting the science experiments, China is collaborating with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Zhou said in a recent China Central Television (CCTV) interview.

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Experiment racks

Zhong Hongen, deputy chief engineer, space application system of China’s Manned Space Flight Project, detailed the use of experiment racks to be utilized on the space station.

“It’s the first time that we have applied experiment racks of advanced international standards to large-scale experiment facilities,” Zhong said in the CCTV video. “The rack is supported by general-purpose technologies with multiple functions. It is constructed with supporting structures for power supply, measurement and control, information recording and cooling.”

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Zhong added that it is also the first time that China has operated scientific experiment facilities which weigh 500 kilograms, close to the mass of a medium-sized satellite.

Astronaut participation

As for the experiments that will be carried out in the recently launched core module, they are mainly categorized into two kinds: containerless experiments on material science, and high-quality microgravity scientific experiments.

“Both of these experiments require intensive participation of the astronauts. For instance, after the completion of the experiment on one batch of samples in a rack for containerless material scientific experiment, the astronauts should put new samples into the rack,” Zhong said.

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Large-scale facilities

Carrying out these tasks within the core module means China will take a fundamental and critical step in space science application of the space station, Zhong added, underscoring the need to master the key technologies of large-scale space experiment facilities.

Additionally, China will use a space-ground integrated system, designed to bring long-term experiment results to fruition.

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Space telescope

Lastly, Zhong described the Xuntian Space Telescope that’s part of China’s space station.

“They will be two independent spacecraft operating on the same orbit,” Zhong said. “If we need to update the telescope, we can dock it with the space station to let the astronaut enter it and change the optical modules.”

To view this new video credited to: CCTV/China National Space Administration (CNSA)/United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), go to:

https://youtu.be/N8S9iHlJjNo

Here are the already selected experiments to be flown on China’s space outpost:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply