Zhou Jianping: The Core Module of Chinese Space Station Will Be Launched Around 2020

Zhou Jianping, member of the national committee of CPPCC, Chief designer of China Manned Space Program, talked about the overall plan of “Chinese Space Station Era” when interviewed by reporter.

What does Chinese Space Station looks like?

According to Zhou Jianping, the basic configuration of Chinese Space Station consists of a core module and two experimental modules, each of them weights more than 20 tons. This three-module configuration can dock with two manned spacecrafts and one cargo spacecraft.

Among them, the core module is used to control the entire space station, and those two experimental modules are used for scientific experiments such as biology, material science, microgravity fluid physics, foundamental physic, etc. Currently, all modules are in preliminary phase of development.

Zhou Jianping also indicated that, the optical module which will concomitant fly with Chinese Space Station is also under development, and it will carry a 2-meter caliber survey telescope. This telescope’s resolution is comparable to that of the US Hubble Space Telescope, but its angle of field is more than 200 times that of the latter, it will display its skill in large-scale sky survey scientific research.

How will Chinese Space Station be built?

“We are planning to launch the core module of Chinese Space Station in around 2020”, said Zhou Jianping, the launch aims to verify key technologies of space station. After completing the verification, two experimental modules will be launched successively to dock with it, and Chinese Space Station will also be transferred from construction phase to operation phase.

 Start from the test of core module, astronauts will take key responsibilities in constructing of space station, they will carry out complex extravehicular activities several times.

Zhou Jianping explained that, constrained by factors such as the inner space of existing launch vehicle's fairing, many larger scientific payloads can only be sent into space by cargo spacecraft. At that time, astronauts need to transfer out these payloads from airlock module, and then coordinate with manipulator arms to complete on-orbit installation, debugging and upgrading.

Who will use Chinese Space Station?

“The normalized mode of Chinese Space Station is long-term flight of three astronauts, and the crew takes regular rotation. During the rotation, a maximum of 6 astronauts work in Chinese Space Station simultaneously. After the handover, the previous crew will return to earth by spacecraft”, said Zhou Jianping.

The International Space Station, currently only on-orbit, will retired around 2024. By then, China will be the only country that owns an on-orbit space station.

In the interview, Zhou Jianping reiterated that Chinese Space Station is a scientific exploration platform for both Chinese and global scientists. He is confident that more and more scientific achievements will emerge in Chinese Space Station and it’s expected to reveal mysteries of the universe.



7th March 2018 From:
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