China is preparing to send three astronauts to its new module on the main space station, although we still do not know when the launch will take place and who exactly will go.
The Shenzhou-12 a spacecraft loaded on top of a Long March 2F rocket was pulled to the pad at the Jiuquan satellite launch center on Wednesday (June 9th), according to Chinese space officials and state media. Chinese astronauts or tycoons are in quarantine to prepare for their mission, the reports added.
“Spaceships and rockets are in good condition, and launch facilities are in good condition,” said China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CAST), the main executor of the Chinese space program. in a machine-translated statement. “[Officials] will perform various pre-launch functional checks and joint tests as planned. “
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Following the launch from Jiuquan, which is in the Gobi Desert, the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and its crew will join the Tianhe space station module, which starts on April 28 and the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2, which launched nearly seven tons of deliveries to the facility on May 29. (The launch of the main module from the Long March rocket led to an uncontrolled re-entry into the main stage of the booster, which pulled criticism from new NASA administrator Bill Nelson, among others.)
Another supply of the robotic cargo ship Tianzhou-3 is expected in September, CAST officials added, although the statement did not specify whether the tycoons would continue to be in space on their three-month mission when the Tianzhou-3 docked. Another manned mission is expected in October, with an as yet unknown crew aboard the Shenzhou-13.
Shenzhou-12, China’s first manned mission in 2016, will include “a set of tasks such as repair and maintenance,” Yang Liwei, director of China’s manned space office, said in English. report from state media provider CGTN on Wednesday.
Yang, who became the first man sent into space by China’s space program in 2003, also told reporters that there were no women on the crew who would be launched soon. “We don’t have any on Shenzhou-12, but missions will have them after that.” Washington Post quotes the words of Ian. (The first female tycoon in China was Liu Yang in 2012, and two of the 11 tycoons that have reached space so far are women.)
Shenzhou-12 marks the third of 11 missions needed to complete construction of the Chinese space station, which is expected by the end of 2022, the CGTN noted. The 11 missions include the launch of the main module, two “laboratory capsule” modules, four cargo fields and four manned missions, according to CGTN.
The Tycoons will spend some time outside the space station, Ian said in remarks quoted in Global Times. “Astronauts leaving the cabin will become a new routine and the duration of such activities will be significantly extended,” he said.
Chinese officials also said the space station included “robotic weapons” that could be extended to 50 feet (15 meters) to help the tycoons build and maintain, according to the Global Times, but few other details were provided.
Future launches of the space station will include Chinese experimental modules, international scientific payloads organized through the United Nations Office on Space Affairs, and foreign astronauts, SpaceNews writes in a report. The station is expected to last 10 years and will jointly include a Hubble-class orbital space telescope called Xuntian, which will explore the sky with a 2.5 billion-pixel camera, SpaceNews added.
China is not a partner of the International Space Station, mainly due to 2011 ban on NASA bilateral agreements arising from continuing concerns about China’s security and military practices. Nelson and Pam Melroy – Who is President Joe Biden’s candidate for NASA Deputy Administrator – both spoke with concern about China’s increasingly ambitious space activities, including Landing of a rover in May, during recent hearings in Congress.
ISS partner Russia signed an agreement with China in April to jointly build research point on the moon, although the co-operation does not specify when the facility will break through the ground. For now, Russia is committed to remaining on the ISS program until 2024, although recently Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos threatened to leave unless the United States lifts various sanctions against the Russian space industry. (There are several restrictions dating back to at least 2014)
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