China’s Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft separates from space station

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China launches Tianzhou-3 from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in south China’s Hainan province on Sept. 20, 2021. /CFP

China launches Tianzhou-3 from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in south China’s Hainan province on Sept. 20, 2021. /CFP

The Tianzhou-3, a cargo spacecraft carrying supplies to China’s space station, completely separated from its Tianhe core module at 10:59 a.m. Sunday (BJT), after completing all space station assembly tasks. assigned, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).

China successfully launched the Tianzhou-3 on Sept. 20, 2021 from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China’s Hainan Province, carrying about six tons of cargo to the space station. On April 20, 2022, the cargo spacecraft docked at the forward docking port of Tianhe.

At present, the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft is in good condition and will re-enter the atmosphere under ground control in the future.

Tianzhou-3 separates from the rear docking port of the central module of China’s Tianhe space station, April 20, 2022. /CMG

Tianzhou-3 separates from the rear docking port of the central module of China’s Tianhe space station, April 20, 2022. /CMG

China Space Station Mission 2022

A total of six spaceflight missions will be carried out in 2022 to complete the in-orbit construction of the Chinese Space Station.

So far, a Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft has been launched in May. The Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft also launched in June with three astronauts in the core module stationed in orbit for six months.

Next step, the Wentian laboratory module will be docked with the Tianhe core module in July, and the Mengtian laboratory module will be docked with the core module in October to complete the in-orbit construction of the Chinese Space Station. Eventually, a T-shaped complex will then be formed once construction of the space station is complete.

The Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-15 manned spacecraft will follow, requiring three more astronauts to remain in orbit for six months. By then, a total of six astronauts will have made transfers in the central module.

A T-shaped complex will be formed once construction of the space station is completed. /APC

A T-shaped complex will be formed once construction of the space station is completed. /APC

China’s first large space station telescope

In addition, the country also plans to launch its first Chinese Space Station Large Telescope (CSST), or Xuntian, which means “investigating the heavens” in English, in 2023. This sophisticated device has a 300 times greater field of view. to that of the Hubble Space Telescope. while maintaining a similar resolution.

With a huge 2.5 billion pixel camera, Xuntian will be able to observe up to 40% of the sky over 10 years. It will also co-orbit Earth with China’s space station and periodically dock with the future crewed outpost.

Xuntian’s mission as a space optical observatory also includes studying the properties of dark matter and dark energy, the cosmos, galaxy formation and evolution.

Read more:

China’s Tianzhou-3 spacecraft docks at Tianhe forward docking port

The launch of the Chinese cargo ship Tianzhou-3 was a success

Chinese space station construction schedule 2022: 6 more missions

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