China is preparing to send three astronauts to its new main space station module, although we do not yet know when the launch will take place or who exactly will go.
IN Shenzhou-12 The spacecraft flying the Long March 2F rocket was rolled out at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Wednesday (June 9), according to Chinese space officials and state media outlets. The reports added that Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, are being quarantined to prepare for their mission.
“The spacecraft and rockets are in good condition, and the launch pad facilities and equipment are in good condition,” said China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CAST), the main contractor for the Chinese space program. in a machine translation statement… “[Officials] will conduct various pre-start functional checks and joint tests as planned. “
Connected: Latest news on China’s space program
After launching from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert, the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft and its crew will join the Tianhe Space Station module, which launched on April 28 and the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft, which almost seven tons of supplies launched to the facility on May 29. (The launch of the main module by a Long March 5 rocket led to an uncontrolled re-engagement of the main stage of the accelerator, which led to criticism from new NASA administrator Bill Nelson, among others.)
Another shipment is expected in September with the robotic cargo ship Tianzhou-3, CAST added, although the statement did not specify if the taikonauts will still be in space during their three-month mission when Tianzhou-3 docks in. Another crewed mission is expected in October with an as-yet-to-be-named crew aboard Shenzhou 13.
Shenzhou 12, China’s first manned mission since 2016, will include “a range of tasks such as repair and maintenance,” said Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Technology Authority, in English. reporting by state media provider CGTN on Wednesday.
Yang, who became the first person to be sent into space on the Chinese space program in 2003, also told reporters that there were no women on the crew due to launch soon. “We don’t have them on Shenzhou 12, but after that everyone will have them on missions,” Washington Post quoted Yang. (The first female taikonaut in China was Liu Yang in 2012, and two of the 11 taikonauts who have conquered space to date have been women.)
Shenzhou 12 is the third of 11 missions required to complete China’s space station, which is expected by the end of 2022, CGTN said. According to the CGTN, the 11 missions include the launch of a main module, two laboratory capsule modules, four cargo flights and four crewed missions.
The taikonauts will spend some time outside the space station, Yang said in comments cited in Global Times… “Exit of the cosmonauts from the cockpit will become a new routine, and the duration of such events will be significantly increased,” he said.
Chinese officials also said the space station includes “robotic arms” that can be extended up to 50 feet (15 meters) to help the taikonauts with construction and maintenance, according to the Global Times, but there were no other details.
Future launches to the space station will include Chinese experimental modules, international scientific research payloads hosted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, and foreign astronauts. This is stated in the message of SpaceNews.… The station is expected to last 10 years and will include a co-orbiting Hubble-class space telescope called Xuntian, which will survey the sky with a 2.5 billion pixel camera, SpaceNews reported.
China is not a partner to the International Space Station, largely due to 2011 ban on NASA bilateral agreements stems from continuing concerns about China’s security and military practices. Nelson as well as Pam Melroy – who is President Joe Biden’s nominee for NASA’s Deputy Administrator – both have raised concerns about China’s increasingly ambitious space activities, including Mars rover landing in May, during a recent Congressional hearing.
ISS partner Russia signed a pledge with China on joint construction in April research post on the moon, although the collaboration does not specify when the object will open. For now, Russia intends to remain in the ISS program until 2024, although Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, recently threatened to leave unless the US lifts various sanctions against the Russian space industry. (There have been several restrictions since at least 2014.)
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