China outlines future plans for Tiangong space station

2022-04-17 Editor : Liu Yimeng ECNS App Download

Screen image taken at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on March 27, 2022 shows the Shenzhou XIII astronauts watching the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft leaving the core module of China's Tiangong space station. (Photo/Xinhua)

China plans to launch two manned spacecraft and two cargo spacecraft each year after completing construction of the Tiangong space station this year, said Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Agency.

Hao made the remark at a news conference on Sunday in Beijing after the three astronauts of the Shenzhou XIII mission returned to Earth on Saturday. The crew spent about six months in space carrying out experiments and tasks needed to finish the space station by the end of 2022.

He said the Tiangong space station project, once completed, will move into an application and development phase that will last more than a decade. Astronauts will be stationed in orbit for a long period of time to carry out scientific experiments and maintain the station.

The research will mainly involve life science, microgravity physical science, astronomy and earth sciences as well as other new technologies, he said.

China also plans to launch the country's first space telescope named Xuntian next year. The telescope will conduct frontier research in the formation and evolution of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, exoplanets and solar system objects and is expected to yield a batch of major breakthroughs.

Hao said China will develop a new generation of manned launch vehicles and crewed spacecraft, of which the return modules will be reusable. The new generation of manned spacecraft will be able to carry seven astronauts with significantly improved load capacity.

The project team is also working on the space station's expansion module to create better conditions further supporting scientific experiments and the work and life of astronauts in orbit. The commercialization of manned spaceflight will also be explored to engage more participants in the construction, operation and maintenance of the station.

"China's manned spaceflight will move from near-Earth space to Earth-Moon space and then to deep space," he added.


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