Credit: CGTN/screengrab

The core module of China’s space station — “Tianhe-1” — was unveiled at Tianjin Aerospace Town in north China last Saturday and spotlighted on the China Global Television Network, or CGTN.

Tianhe-1 is the main control cabin of China’s space station and holds habitable living quarters and working space for a crew of three astronauts, who will manage guidance, navigation and control for the entire space station.

Credit: CGTN/screengrab

The module also contains a non-habitable service section and a docking hub.

In debuting the Tianhe-1 core module, also on display by engineers from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) was a robotic arm. Space robotic arms, it was noted, can be of great help to astronauts when it comes to grabbing, holding and moving objects.

Credit: CGTN/screengrab

Station components

In early March this year, CASC said that the Tianhe-1 module would be launched on board a new-generation Long March-5 heavyweight carrier rocket in 2018. Following that launch, a series of boosts of other components of the space station are planned, including two space labs that will dock with the core module – in the next four years or so.

As reported by China Central Television (CCTV), the complete space station will consist of one core module and two experiment modules, each weighing over 20 tons, and can be joined with two manned spacecraft and one cargo spacecraft.

Credit: CCTV/screengrab

Post-2024, only working station

The average age of the current development team of China’s space station project is around 35, explained Zhu Guangchen, deputy chief designer of the space station.

The China News Service reported last week that the Astronaut Center of China in Beijing is moving forward on astronaut training for constructing the country’s space station, including underwater exercises and survival training in the desert,

“It is possible that China’s space station will be the only working station after 2024 when the [International Space Station] ISS is expected to retire and China will take a dominant position in conducting space experiments,” said Jiao Weixin, a space science professor at Peking University, in a story appearing in China’s Global Times on Sunday.

To view the CGTN video regarding the unveiling of the Tianhe-1 module, go to:

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