June 20, 2024

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Tiangong: China is doubling the size of its space station as it offers an alternative to the NASA-led International Space Station

Tiangong: China is doubling the size of its space station as it offers an alternative to the NASA-led International Space Station

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A model of the Chinese space station is displayed at the Shanghai World Capital Design Conference 2023 on September 26, 2023.



CNN

China NASA plans to expand its space station to six modules from three in the coming years, providing astronauts from other nations an alternative platform for near-Earth missions as the NASA-led International Space Station (ISS) approaches the end of its lifespan.

Operating life of Chinese space station The duration of the project will be more than 15 years, the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a unit of China’s main aerospace contractor, said at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday.

This will be more than the previously announced ten years.

China Self-build space stationThe probe, also known as Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace in Chinese, has been fully operational since late 2022, hosting a maximum of three astronauts at an orbital altitude of up to 450 kilometers (280 miles).

At 180 metric tons after expanding to six modules, Tiangong’s mass is still only 40% of the mass of the International Space Station, which can accommodate a crew of seven astronauts. But the International Space Station, which has been in orbit for more than two decades, is expected to be taken out of service after 2030, around the same time China has said it expects it to be. “A major space power.”

Chinese state media said last year, when the Tiangong station became fully operational, that China would not “relax” as the International Space Station approached retirement, adding that “several countries” had requested to send astronauts to the Chinese station.

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But in a blow to China Space diplomacy ambitionsThe European Space Agency (ESA) said this year that it did not have the financial or “political” green light to participate in Tiangong, delaying a years-long plan for a visit by European astronauts.

The Global Times, a nationalist Chinese tabloid, wrote at the time: “Abandoning cooperation with China in manned space is clearly short-sighted, which reveals that the confrontation in the US-led camp has led to a new space race.” “.

Tiangong has become a symbol of China’s growing influence and confidence in its space endeavors, and a competitor to the United States in this field after its isolation from the International Space Station. US law prohibits it from any direct or indirect cooperation with NASA.

Russia, a participant in the International Space Station, has similar space diplomacy plans, suggesting that Moscow’s BRICS partners – Brazil, India, China and South Africa – could build a module for its space station.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said last year that it plans to build a space station with six modules that can accommodate up to four astronauts.