China unveils blueprint of manned space station


China has officially unveiled the blueprint of its space station which it plans to put in orbit by 2020 for future manned missions.

The 60-ton space station consisting of three modules will be part of China’s ambitious manned space programme to send astronauts to Moon and beyond.

The design of the space station was unveiled on Monday by the China Manned Space Engineering Office which invited the public to suggest names for the new orbital laboratory, the China Daily reported.

The multi-module space station will have a core module and two other modules for conducting scientific experiments.

The 18.1-meter-long core module, with a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a launch weight of 20 to 22 tons, will be launched first. It will be followed by the two experimental modules of 14.4 meters each and weighing the same as the first module.

“The 60-ton space station is rather small compared to the International Space Station (419 tons), and Russia’s Mir Space Station (137 tons) which served between 1996 and 2001,” Pang Zhihao, a researcher and deputy editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine, Space International, was quoted as saying in the news report.

“But it is the world’s third multi-module space station, which usually demands much more complicated technology than a single-module space lab,” he said.

Authorities working on the manned space programme also put up their plan to develop a cargo spacecraft that will deliver supplies to the Chinese space station.

With a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters and a launch weight less than 13 tons, the new spacecraft will ferry supplies and lab facilities to the space station, the news report said.

This will be the second phase of China’s manned space programme.

Under the first phase, China plans to launch an unmanned space module, Tiangong-1, to conduct docking tests before putting in orbit the manned space station. The Tiangong-1 is scheduled to be launched later this year.

Plans are also on to launch an unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, for docking with the space module followed by the launch of manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 in 2012 that will pave the way for building the manned space station in 2020.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Apr 26 2011. Filed under All News, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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