China's first 'ground space station' passes acceptance review

2024-02-28 17:18:51Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's first "ground space station," the home-grown Space Environment Simulation and Research Infrastructure (SESRI), passed its acceptance review on Tuesday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. It is capable of simulating nine different categories of space environment factors.

"The achievement means that many future experiments that previously would have had to be carried out in space can now be done on the ground," said Li Liyi, head of the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT)'s research institute of space environment and material science.

The "ground space station" is located in the Science and Technology Innovation City of the New Area of Harbin, and is jointly built by HIT and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

In the construction park, there are four experimental buildings, including the space comprehensive environmental experimental building, the space plasma science experimental building, space magnetic environment science experimental building, and animal breeding facility.

According to the design plan, the "ground space station" can simulate nine categories of space environment factors such as vacuum, high and low temperature, charged particles, electromagnetic radiation, space dust, plasma, weak magnetic field, neutral gas, and microgravity. It can explain the influence law and mechanism of space environment on materials, devices, systems and living organisms.

Compared to moving instruments and equipment to space, a ground space station offers cost savings, reduced safety hazards, and the ability to control specific environmental factors based on scientific and engineering requirements. This allows for multiple repetitions of researches without limitations of time and space, media report said.

An academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and President of HIT, Han Jiecai, said that the device is of great significance for major scientific and technological breakthroughs, industrial transformation and upgrading, and the cultivation of high-end talents in China.

In the future, Han stated that the HIT will continuously optimize the technical indicators of the device, improve the scientific level of the device to make new contributions to China's major leap from a space power to a space powerhouse.

As of June, 2023, domestic and foreign scientists had been competing to apply for access to the "ground space station" to carry out scientific experiments. More than 110 organizations have signed user agreements, covering more than 30 countries and regions, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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