China’s Tiangong Space Station
- 11 Jun 2022
- 5 min read
Why in News?
Recently, China’s strategically significant space station project entered the final phase as three astronauts entered the orbiting module of the Tiangong Space Station.
- They were launched into the designated orbit by the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft.
- Shenzhou-1 to 4 space flights were unmanned spaceflight missions.
- Shenzhou-5 to 14 spaceflights are manned spaceflight missions.
- A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting crew members, designed to remain in space for an extended period of time and for other spacecraft to dock.
What is the Tiangong Space Station?
- The Tiangong space station is a Chinese space station being built in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 kilometers above the earth.
- It is part of China Manned Space Program and is the country's first long-term space station.
- China is going to operationalize its new Tiangong multi-module space station for at least ten years.
- China launched an unmanned module named "Tianhe", or "Harmony of the Heavens" for its permanent space station in 2021 that it plans to complete by the end of 2022.
- Tianhe core module is the first module to launch the Tiangong space station module.
What is the China Manned Space Programme?
- The Chinese government decided to launch a human space programme using a "three-step" method in 1992 which is known as the China Manned Space Program.
- The 1st step: To launch manned spaceships to master basic human space technologies.
- The 2nd step: To launch Space Labs to make technological breakthrough in R&D, and accommodation of long-term man-tended utilization on a modest scale
- The 3rd step: To construct China’s Space Station to accommodate long-term man-tended utilization on a large scale
- It is managed by the China Manned Space Agency.
What is the Importance of this Launch for China?
- China is only the third country in history to have put both astronauts into space and to build a space station, after the Russia and the US.
- The China Space Station (CSS) is also expected to be a competitor to the International Space Stations.
- The International Space Station (ISS) Is a collaborative project of several countries.
- The ISS is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space.
What are India's Space Station Programmes?
- India is planning to launch its own space station by 2030, joining the league of US, Russia, and China to an elite space club.
- The Indian space station will be much smaller (mass of 20 tonnes) than the International Space Station and will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments (not for space tourism).
- Preliminary plan for the space station is to accommodate astronauts for up to 20 days in space, and the project will be an extension of the Gaganyaan mission.
- It will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 400 km.
- ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) is working on a space docking experiment (Spandex), a technology that is crucial for making the space station functional.
- Space docking is a technology that allows transferring humans from one spacecraft to another.
- Space stations are essential for collecting meaningful scientific data, especially for biological experiments.
- Provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. (as Gaganyaan will take humans and experiments in microgravity for a few days only).
- Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body.