China launches the main capsule of its space station at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province on Thursday morning, April 29, 2021. (Photo by Guo Wenbin / provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
With news of the achievements pouring in these days, China continues its exploration of deep space, aiming to bring wisdom in the peaceful use of space by mankind.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE SPACE STATION
On April 29, China sent the core module of its space station into space, launching a series of key launch missions that aim to complete construction of the station by the end of next year.
The successful launch of the Tianhe module marks that the construction of the Chinese space station has entered the full implementation phase, which lays a solid foundation for follow-up tasks.
Tianhe will act as the management and control center of the Tiangong space station, which stands for Heavenly Palace.
China will send two cargo spacecraft and two manned vehicles this year to dock with the base module. It plans six missions, including the launch of the Wentian and Mengtian laboratory modules, two cargo spacecraft and two manned spacecraft, in 2022 to complete construction of the space station.
“The station is expected to contribute to the peaceful development and use of space resources through international cooperation, as well as to enrich technologies and experience for China’s future explorations in deeper space,” Bai Linhou, deputy chief designer of the space station in China. Academy of Space Technology.
China has extensive exchanges and cooperation on the space station project, with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the European Space Agency and national space agencies from countries like Germany, Italy, France and Pakistan.
The cooperation covered several areas, including technology, scientific research and applications, selection and training of astronauts, producing many achievements.
“Through cooperation, we want to make the Chinese space station a scientific research platform shared by the world and benefiting all mankind,” said Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
On May 15, China landed its Mars probe, Tianwen 1, on the Red Planet, ushering in a new chapter in Chinese space exploration and marking another contribution to humanity’s exploration of the universe.
The lander, carrying a rover to Mars, landed on its preselected landing zone in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
Tianwen 1, consisting of an orbiter, lander and rover, was launched from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site on the coast of southern China’s Hainan Island Province. , July 23, 2020. system, with the goal of completing orbiting, landing, and wandering the Red Planet in a single mission.
Over 40 Mars missions have been launched since the 1960s, but only about half have been successful. The landing success rate is even lower.
Exploring Mars will not only determine if there is or was life on Mars, but will also help shed light on the evolutionary history and future development trends of Earth, as well as looking for a potential living space for human beings, said Li Chunlai. , deputy chief designer of the first Mars exploration mission in China.
Extensive international cooperation was carried out during the Tianwen 1 mission.
China is working with the European Space Agency and Argentina for the measurement and control of the mission, and with France and Austria for the calibration of several payloads and data analysis.
FUTURE EXPLORATION PLAN
China is reportedly carrying out several space missions, including Chang’e 6, Chang’e 7, Chang’e 8, asteroid exploration, sampling returns to Mars, and Jupiter explorations in the future.
It has completed the feasibility studies for the fourth phase of its lunar exploration program and is expected to build an international lunar research station on the south pole of the moon in the future.
“China is willing to cooperate with relevant countries and international organizations to discuss basic capabilities for the initial construction of a lunar research station and test key technologies,” said Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of China. National Space Administration (CNSA).
Three missions are planned for the fourth phase of the lunar exploration program. The program includes the recovery of lunar samples from the south pole by Chang’e-6, a detailed study of the resources of the south pole of the moon by Chang’e-7 and the testing of key technologies in preparation for the research construction. lunar. station by Chang’e-8.
China aims to launch the Chang’e-6 probe to collect samples in the South Pole-Aitken basin across the moon around 2024. The CNSA has invited scientists from around the world to participate in the program, proposing to transport requested payloads. .
China is also continuing its exploration of a near-Earth asteroid and a main belt comet with a space probe.
The mission is to send a probe around an asteroid named 2016HO3 and then land on it to collect samples. The probe will then return close to Earth and release a capsule to return the samples. After that, it will continue its journey and finally arrive at the Main Asteroid Belt and Orbiting Comet 311P. The whole process will take about ten years.