China can launch the first module for its own space station this month, as the country also prepares to send a large space telescope to put it into orbit over the next few years.
The China Space Station Telescope (CSST), slated to launch in 2024, will act as a space-based optical observatory for Chinese scientists to survey the sky. Xinhua… The telescope, sometimes referred to as “Xuntian,” which literally translates to “sky survey”, will have an impressive 6.6 feet (2 meters) diameter lens, making it comparable to the Hubble telescope. However, its field of view is 300 times larger than that of the 31-year-old Hubble, at the same resolution.
A wide field of view will allow the telescope to observe up to 40 percent of the sky over ten years using a huge 2.5 billion pixel cameraIt is noteworthy that the telescope will rotate in the Earth’s orbit together with the Chinese space station and will be able to periodically dock with the future outpost with the crew.
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“The telescope will be installed in the form of an optical module that can independently fly in orbit to improve the efficiency of the space probe,” said Zhou Jianping, chief developer of China’s manned space flight program. told China Central Television in March…
“In the meantime, we will make it fly in approximately the same orbit with the future space station. This will help us refuel the telescope and carry out upgrades in orbit.[s] for this, to always keep it at the level of the international border, ”added Jianping.
This could be a big advantage for CSST, as Hubble needed several missions for the repair, renovation and replacement of various components and systems.
Meanwhile, four astronomical research centers are being built across China to work with space telescope data, Xinhua reported last year.
CSST will be observing in near ultraviolet and visible light. Notable cosmological and astronomical targets include research into the properties of dark matter and dark energy, the large-scale structure of the cosmos, and the formation and evolution of galaxies, according to a 2019 report. paper from members of the National Astronomical Observatory (NAOC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
CSST is expected to contribute to the detection and exploration of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) and near-Earth asteroids.
In addition, in preparation for the country’s new space station, Chinese astronauts are currently undergoing intense workouts for the first missions with a crew to build a future station.
China is preparing for 11 launches in 2021 and 2022, including four crewed missions, during the construction phase of the project. The main module called “Tianhe, which stands for Heaven’s Harmony, is expected to kick off from Wenchang in April, building on previous preparations for the Great March.
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