Space and Science

In 2022, China wants to complete its space station and launch a number of rockets.

The science modules, dubbed Mengtian and Wentian, will join the Tianhe core module, which now houses a three-person crew.

China has recommitted to finishing its orbiting space station by the end of the year, and it has announced that it will launch more than 40 satellites in 2022, putting it on par with the United States.

Two Shenzhou crewed missions, two Tianzhou cargo spacecraft, and the station’s additional two modules will all be launched, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, citing a recent announcement by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, or CASC.

The science modules, dubbed Mengtian and Wentian, will join the Tianhe core module, which now houses a three-person crew.

The launch plan demonstrates how China’s normally conservative space program is increasing the frequency of its missions as it strives to become a global leader in space research.

After a slowdown in 2021 because to the COVID-19 epidemic, the United States expects approximately the same number of launches this year. Liquid oxygen used as rocket fuel had to be redirected to hospitals to save patients after supply channels for critical commodities such as computer chips were interrupted.

The launch of the Space Launch System, a 1,010-meter (332-foot) tall rocket destined for future lunar missions, is one of the most anticipated.

Because of US objections, China’s military-run space program was denied access to the International Space Station.

China has moved ahead with its Tiangong space station program mainly on its own, constructing and then discarding two experimental stations before moving on to the latest iteration.

China’s current six-month Shenzhou-13 mission is the country’s longest since it launched its first human into space in 2003, becoming only the third country after Russia and the United States to do so.

The crew has completed two spacewalks, the first of which was performed by a Chinese female astronaut, as well as experiments with the station’s robotic service arm, which successfully undocked and redocked the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft for the first time on Thursday.

The three are the second crew on the permanent station, which will be about a fourth the size of the International Space Station (ISS), which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 450 tons when completed.

China has also had success with unmanned missions, and its lunar exploration program made headlines last year when its Yutu 2 rover returned images of what some called a “mystery hut,” but was most likely just a rock of some sort.

The rover is the first to land on the moon’s far side, which has yet to be explored. In December 2000, China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft brought lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s, while another Chinese rover is exploring Mars for signs of life.

The initiative has also sparked debate. China’s Foreign Ministry dismissed a report two months earlier that it had launched a hypersonic missile, stating it had only tested if a new spacecraft could be reused.

China is also said to be working on a top-secret spacecraft.


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