China announced on Friday that its manned space station construction mission was a complete success after three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after concluding the country’s longest manned space mission.
The Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft carrying astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo landed at the Dongfeng landing site in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Chinese Manned Space Agency said. (CMSA).
The mission to build the space station was a complete success, he said. The three astronauts of the Shenzhou-12 manned space flight mission are in good condition after landing on Earth, state media reported. They spent 90 days in the Tianhe module of the Chinese space station, some 380 km above Earth.
Previously, the main parachute of the Shenzhou-12 reentry capsule had been successfully deployed before the spacecraft landed in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The three astronauts entered the space station module in June this year for a three-month mission to build many of its components.
Hailed as the most prestigious and strategically important space project for China after the country’s recent missions to Mars and the Moon, the low-orbiting space station is said to be the country’s eye from the sky, providing an aerial view of bird to its astronauts on the rest. of the world. The space station should be ready by next year. It is China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.
China previously sent the main cabin module of the Tianhe space station on April 29 and a cargo spacecraft with supplies on May 29. Once ready, the station should be open to close allies of China like Pakistan and other international space cooperation partners.
Ji Qiming, assistant to the director of the Chinese Manned Space Agency (CMSA), told media on Wednesday that in addition to close cooperation with Russia, China also maintains bilateral cooperation exchanges with countries like France. , Italy, Pakistan and others focusing on space experiments in basic physics, space medicine and space autonomy on the space station.
Lunar space station
Separately, China and Russia also unveiled a roadmap to build a lunar space station, state media reported. The station aims to develop research facilities on the surface of the Moon, in orbit, or both. Once ready, China will be the only country to own a space station while the aging International Space Station (ISS) is now a collaborative project of several countries. It is expected to compete with the ISS and perhaps become the only space station to remain in orbit after the ISS is removed.
The ISS is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) which is operated by Russia, while the American Orbital Segment (USOS) is managed by the United States as well as many other countries.
The Chinese space station is also equipped with a robotic arm on which the United States has expressed concerns about its possible military applications. The arm, which can be stretched up to 15 meters, will also play a vital role in building the orbiting space station, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s Manned Space Engineering Project. Astronauts will team up with the robotic arm to make the construction and maintenance of the space station in orbit possible.
In the past, China has launched several scavenging satellites equipped with robotic arms to collect and direct space debris to burn in Earth’s atmosphere. China plans to send several space missions, including with astronauts to transport supplies and equipment to complete construction of the space station.
The space station will operate in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 340-450 km above the Earth’s surface for more than 10 years. The T-shaped station has a central module in the center and a lab capsule on each side. Each of the modules will weigh more than 20 tonnes, with the total mass of the station expected to weigh around 66 tonnes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to the three astronauts shortly after entering the space station in June, called the project “a milestone” in the country’s ambitious space exploration program. “The construction of the space station is an important step in the Chinese space industry, which will make pioneering contributions to the peaceful use of space by mankind,” Xi said.
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