Tiangong Space Station
Chinese Tiangong Space Station.jpg
A rendering of the station with the Tianhe at centre of picture, a Tianzhou on its aft port, the Wentian on its starboard port to the left, the Mengtian on its portside port to the right and two Shenzhou spacecraft, sharing its multi-docking hub.
Station statistics
CrewFully crewed: 6[1]
Currently aboard: 3
Expedition: 4 (Shenzhou 15)
Commander: Fei Junlong (PLAAC)
Launch29 April 2021 (Tianhe)
24 July 2022 (Wentian)
31 October 2022 (Mengtian)
December 2023 (Xuntian)
Launch padWenchang Spacecraft Launch Site LC-1
Mission statusOperational
Mass~ 96,000 kg
Length~ 55.0 m
Diameter~ 39.0 m
Pressurised volume320 m3 (11,300 cu ft)
Habitable: 132 m3 (4,660 cu ft)
Periapsis altitude385.8 km[2]
Apoapsis altitude392.9 km[2]
Orbital inclination41.48°[2]
Typical orbit altitude389.4 km[2]
Orbital speed7.68 km/s[2]
Orbital period92.2 minutes[3]
Days in orbit623 days, 15 hours, 39 minutes
(12 January 2023)
Days occupied493 days, 1 hour and 18 minutes
(12 January 2023)
Statistics as of 1 December 2022
Configuration
Tiangong Space Station config 2022 EN.jpg
Station elements as of December 2022
(exploded view)

Tiangong (Chinese: 天宫; pinyin: Tiāngōng; lit. 'Sky Palace'),[4][5] officially the Tiangong space station[6] (Chinese: 天宫空间站; pinyin: Tiāngōng kōngjiānzhàn), is a space station constructed by China and operated by China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km (210 and 280 mi) above the surface. It is China's first long-term space station, part of the Tiangong program and the core of the "Third Step" of the China Manned Space Program (CMS); it has a pressurised volume of 320 m3 (11,300 cu ft), slightly over one third the size of the International Space Station.

The construction of the station is based on the experience gained from its precursors, Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2.[7][8][9] The first module, the Tianhe ("Harmony of the Heavens") core module, was launched on 29 April 2021,[4][5] followed by multiple crewed and uncrewed missions and two more laboratory cabin modules Wentian ("Quest for the Heavens") launched on 24 July 2022 and Mengtian ("Dreaming of the Heavens") launched on 31 October 2022.[7] The research conducted on the station aims to improve researchers' ability to conduct science experiments in space.[10]

Nomenclature

The names used in the space program, previously all chosen from the revolutionary history of the People's Republic, have been replaced with mystical-religious ones. Thus, the new Long March launch vehicles were renamed Divine Arrow (神箭),[11][12] space capsule Divine Vessel (神舟),[13] spaceplane Divine Dragon (神龙),[14] land-based high-power laser Divine Light (神光),[15] and supercomputer Divine Might (神威).[16]

These poetic[17] names continue as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and future Chinese Lunar probes are called Chang'e after the Moon goddess. The name "Tiangong" means "heavenly palace". Across China, the launch of Tiangong-1 was reported to have inspired a variety of feelings, including love poetry. The rendezvous of the space vehicles has been compared to the reunion of the cowherd and the weaver girl.[18]

Wang Wenbao, director of the CMSA, told a news conference in 2011: "Considering past achievements and the bright future, we feel the manned space programme should have a more vivid symbol, and that the future space station should carry a resounding and encouraging name. We now feel that the public should be involved in the names and symbols, as this major project will enhance national prestige and strengthen the national sense of cohesion and pride".[17][19][20]

On 31 October 2013, CMSA announced the new names for the whole space station program:[8]

Purpose and mission

According to CMSA, which operates the space station, the purpose and mission of Tiangong is to develop and gain experience in spacecraft rendezvous technology, permanent human operations in orbit, long-term autonomous spaceflight of the space station, regenerative life support technology and autonomous cargo and fuel supply technology. It will also serve the platform for the next-generation orbit transportation vehicles, scientific and practical applications at large-scale in orbit, and technology for future deep space exploration.[29][30][31]

CMSA also encourages commercial activities led by the private sector and hopes their involvement could bring cost-effective aerospace innovations.[32] Space tourism at the space station is also considered.[33]

Scientific research

The space station will have 23 experimental racks in an enclosed, pressurized environment. There will also be platforms for exposed experiments; 22 and 30 on the Wentian and Mengtian laboratory modules, respectively.[34] Over 1,000 experiments are tentatively approved by CMSA,[35] and scheduled to be conducted on the space station.[36]

Agriculture in microgravity was explored with plantation of rice and Arabidopsis thaliana to sustainable food source for long-term spaceflight.[37]

The programmed experiment equipment racks for the three modules as of June 2016 were:[9]

Education and cultural outreach

The space station features space lectures and popular science experiments to educate, motivate and inspire the younger Chinese generation and world audience in science and technology. Each lecture is concluded with a Question-and-Answer (Q&A) session with schoolchildren's questions from classrooms across China.[38] The first and second Tiangong space lesson was conducted in December 2021 and March 2022, as a part of the Shenzhou 13 mission.[39][40] This tradition continued with the Shenzhou 14.[41]

The CSSARC is the Amateur Radio payload for the Chinese Space Station, proposed by the Chinese Radio Amateurs Club (CRAC), Aerospace System Engineering Research Institute of Shanghai (ASES) and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). The payload will provide resources for radio amateurs worldwide to contact onboard astronauts or communicate with each other, aim to inspire students to take interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and encourage more people to get interested in amateur radio.[42][43]

The first phase of the payload is capable of providing the following functions utilizing the VHF/UHF amateur radio band:

  1. V/V or U/U crew voice;
  2. V/U or U/V FM repeater;
  3. V/V or U/U 1k2 AFSK digipeater;
  4. V/V or U/U SSTV or digital image.

Structure

T-shaped early concept of the Chinese large modular space station
T-shaped early concept of the Chinese large modular space station

The space station is a third-generation modular space station. First-generation space stations, such as early Salyut, Almaz, and Skylab, were single-piece stations and not designed for resupply. Second generation Salyut 6 and 7, and Tiangong 1 and 2 stations, are designed for mid-mission resupply. Third-generation stations, such as Mir and the International Space Station, are modular space stations, assembled in orbit from pieces launched separately. Modular design can greatly improve reliability, reduce costs, shorten development cycles, and meet diversified task requirements.[7]

Wentian
robotic arm
Chinarm
robotic arm
Solar arraySolar arrayDocking portSolar arraySolar array
Wentian
laboratory
Tianhe
core module
Mengtian
laboratory
Solar arrayEVA hatchDocking portDocking portSolar array
EVA hatchCargo airlock

Modules

The initial target configuration for the end of 2022 consists of three modules, which may be expanded to six in the future.[44]

The Tianhe Core Cabin Module (CCM) provides life support and living quarters for three crew members and provides guidance, navigation, and orientation control for the station. The module also provides the station's power, propulsion, and life support systems. The module consists of three sections: living quarters, a service section, and a docking hub. The living quarters will contain a kitchen and toilet, fire control equipment, atmospheric processing and control equipment, computers, scientific apparatus, communications equipment to send and receive communications via ground control in Beijing, and other equipment.

In 2018 full-scale mockup of CCM was publicly presented at China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.[45] The video from CMSA revealed that two of these core modules have been built. Artist impressions have also depicted the two core modules docked together to enlarge the overall station.

The first of two Laboratory Cabin Modules (LCM), Wentian, provides additional avionics, propulsion, and life support systems as backup functions for the CCM.[46] The Wentian is also fitted with an independent airlock cabin to serve as the main entry-exit point for extravehicular activities (EVA), replacing the Tianhe docking hub.[47] For the scientific payload, the LCM is equipped with multiple internal science racks and 22 payload adapters on the exterior for various types of experiments.[48] Aside from scientific equipment, the module features three additional living quarters designed for short-term stay, which will be used during crew rotation.[49] Wentian was launched and docked with the Tianhe on 24 July 2022.[50]

The second LCM, Mengtian, was launched on 31 October 2022. The Mengtian module is equipped with expanded in-orbit experiment capacity.[51] The module is divided into multiple sections, including the pressurized crew working compartment, the unpressurized cargo section, the cargo airlock/on-orbit release mechanism, as well as the control module section featuring external experiment adapters, a communication antenna, and two solar arrays.[27] In total, it carries 13 experimental racks and 37 external payload adapters.[52] The cargo airlock is specifically designed for conveying payloads from inside the station to the exterior.[52]

Both LCMs provide a pressurized environment for researchers to conduct science experiments in freefall or microgravity which could not be conducted on Earth for more than a few minutes. Experiments can also be placed on the outside of the modules for exposure to the space environment, cosmic rays, vacuum, and solar winds.[53] Overall, Wentian prioritizes life science, while the Mengtian focus on microgravity experiments.[52]

The axial port of the LCMs is fitted with rendezvous equipment for docking at the axial port of the CCM. A mechanical arm called the indexing robotic arm, externally resembling the Lyappa arm used on the Mir space station, moves Wentian LCM to the starboard side, and the Mengtian LCM module to a port-side port of the CCM.[54] The Indexing robot arms differentiate from the Lyappa arm as they are used when docking is needed in the same plane, while the Lyappa arm controls the pitch of the spacecraft to re-dock it at a different plane. The Chinarm on the Tianhe module can be used as a backup for docking relocation.[55][56]

Module Launch time and International Designator Launch vehicle Docking date and position Length Diameter Mass On-orbit Image (Illustration) Ground Image
Tianhe core module 29 April 2021 03:23:15 UTC

2021-035A

Long March 5B (Y2) (Core Module) 16.6 m (54 ft) 4.2 m (14 ft) 22,600 kg (49,800 lb)
Tianhe Core Module Rendering 01.png
The Tianhe core module prior to launch, 2021
The Tianhe core module prior to launch, 2021
The Tianhe core module consists of three sections: the living quarters, the service section, and a docking hub.[57][58]
Wentian module 24 July 2022 06:22:32 UTC

2022-085A

Long March 5B (Y3) 24 July 2022 19:13 UTC[59]
(Front docking)

30 September 2022 04:44 UTC[60]
(Front → Starboard side of the Tianhe core module)

17.9 m (59 ft)[61] 4.2 m (14 ft) 23,200 kg (51,100 lb)
Wentian lab module rendering.jpg
The Wentian laboratory cabin module prior to launch, 2022
The Wentian laboratory cabin module prior to launch, 2022
The first lab module, which also serves as the backup platform of the core module with the capability of space station control and management. It has its own EVA airlock that served as the station's main exit for future spacewalking and a 5-meter-long robotic arm.[58]
Mengtian module 31 October 2022 07:37:23 UTC

2022-143A

Long March 5B (Y4)[27] 31 October 2022 20:27 UTC[53]
(Front docking)

3 November 2022 01:32 UTC[62]
(Front → Larboard side of the Tianhe core module)

17.9 m (59 ft)[61] 4.2 m (14 ft) ~23,000 kg (51,000 lb)
Mengtian lab module rendering.jpg
The Mengtian laboratory cabin module prior to launch, 2022
The Mengtian laboratory cabin module prior to launch, 2022
The second lab module. It has a cargo airlock and payload transportation system.[58]

Systems

Deployment of flexible solar arrays on Tianhe core module
Deployment of flexible solar arrays on Tianhe core module
Ground test of the Tianhe core module robotic arm
Ground test of the Tianhe core module robotic arm
Indexing Robot Arm on Wentian
Indexing Robot Arm on Wentian

Communication

The real-time communications, including live audio and video links, are provided by the Tianlian II series of data relay satellites. A constellation of three satellites was launched into geostationary orbits, providing communication and data support for the station.[63]

Docking

Tiangong is fitted with the Chinese Docking Mechanism used by Shenzhou spacecraft and previous Tiangong prototypes. The Chinese docking mechanism is based on the Russian APAS-89/APAS-95 system. Despite NASA describing it as a "clone" to APAS,[64] there have been contradictory claims on the compatibility of the Chinese system with both current and future docking mechanisms on the ISS, which are also based on APAS.[65][66][67] It has a circular transfer passage that has a diameter of 800 mm (31 in).[68][69] The androgynous variant has a mass of 310 kg and the non-androgynous variant has a mass of 200 kg.[70]

The Chinese Docking Mechanism was used for the first time on Shenzhou 8 and Tiangong 1 space stations and will be used on future Chinese space stations and with future CMSA cargo resupply vehicles.[71][65]

Power supply

Electrical power is provided by two steerable solar power arrays on each module, which use gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Energy is stored to power the station when it passes into the Earth's shadow. Resupply spacecraft will replenish fuel for the station's propulsion engines for station keeping, to counter the effects of atmospheric drag. The solar arrays are designed to last up to 15 years.[72]

Propulsion

Tiangong space station is fitted with conventional chemical propulsion and ion thrusters to adjust and maintain the station's orbit. Four Hall-effect thrusters are mounted on the hull of Tianhe core module.[73] The development of the Hall-effect thrusters is considered a sensitive topic in China, with scientists "working to improve the technology without attracting attention". Hall-effect thrusters are created with manned mission safety in mind with effort to prevent erosion and damage caused by the accelerated ion particles.[74]

A magnetic field and specially designed ceramic shield were created to repel damaging particles and maintain the integrity of the thrusters. According to a report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the ion drive used on Tiangong ran continuously for 8,240 hours without a glitch during the testing phase, indicating its suitability for Tiangong's designated 15-year lifespan.[74] These are the world's first Hall thrusters to be used on a human-rated mission.[75][76]

Robotic arms

The Tiangong station features five robotic arms. The longest one is the 10-meter-long, ISS Canadian-style SSRMS robotic arm, nicknamed Chinarm, mounted on the Tianhe core module.[77]

The Wentian module features a smaller, 5 m (16 ft) long SSRMS robotic arm that is 5 times more accurate in positioning than the Chinarm. The Wentian arm is primarily used to transfer extravehicular experiments and other hardware outside the station during astronaut EVAs. A dual-arm connector is installed on the Chinarm, providing it the capability to link with the Wentian robotic arm, extending its reach and weight-carrying limits.[78]

The Mengtian module carries a payload release mechanism,[52] installed to assist in cargo transfer.[27] The robotic arm can retrieve experiments from the cargo airlock, then install them onto the external adapters fitted on the module exterior.[79] It can also be used to launch microsatellites.[27][80]

Two Indexing robotic arms are fitted on top of docking ports for the two laboratory modules to help relocate them during construction.[54][55]

Co-orbit modules

Spacecraft[a] Launch time and International Designator Launch vehicle Operational date Notes Length Diameter Mass On-orbit Image (Illustration)
Xuntian Space Station Telescope December 2023 (Planned) Long March 5B (Y5) (Planned) 2024 (Planned) Will share the same orbit and periodically dock with Tiangong 14 m (46 ft)[81] 4.5 m (15 ft) 15,500 kg (34,200 lb)[81]
China CSST Xuntian.jpg
Planned independent Chinese space station telescope currently under development. It will feature a 2-meter (6.6 foot) diameter primary mirror and is expected to have a field of view 300–350 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. This will allow the telescope to image up to 40 percent of the sky using its 2.5 gigapixel camera over ten years. It will co-orbit with the space station in a slightly different orbital phase, which will allow for periodic docking with the station for maintenance.[82]

Construction

Planning

In 2011, it was announced that the future space station was planned to be assembled from 2020 to 2022.[83] By 2013, the space station's core module was planned to be launched earlier, in 2018, followed by the first laboratory module in 2020, and a second in 2022.[84] By 2018, it was reported that this had slipped to 2020–2023.[23][85] In February 2020, a total of 11 launches were planned for the whole construction phase, beginning in 2021.[86][87] In 2021, it was reported China National Space Administration planned to complete the construction of the space station in 2022.[88]

Tiangong modules are self-contained and pre-assembled, in contrast to the US Orbital Segment of the ISS, which required spacewalking to interconnect cables, piping, and structural elements manually. The assembly method of the station can be compared with the Soviet-Russian Mir space station and the Russian orbital segment of the International Space Station, making China the second nation to develop and use automatic rendezvous and docking for modular space station construction. The technologies in the construction are derived from decades of Chinese manned spaceflight experiences, including those gained from Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 prototypes,[89] as well as the purchase of aerospace technology from Russia in the early 1990s.[90] A representative of the Chinese crewed space program stated that around 2000, China and Russia were engaged in technological exchanges regarding the development of a docking mechanism used for space stations.[91] Deputy Chief Designer, Huang Weifen, stated that near the end of 2009, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) began to train astronauts on how to dock spacecraft.[92]

In accordance to the plan, by the end of 2022, the fully assembled Tiangong space station had three 22 metric-ton modules in a basic T-shape.[93][94] With the modular design, the Tiangong space station can be further expanded into six modules prospectively enabling for more astronaut participation in the future.[95]

Assembly

A Long March 5B launching the Tianhe core module in April, 2021
A Long March 5B launching the Tianhe core module in April, 2021
A Long March 5B launching the Wentian lab cabin module in July, 2022
A Long March 5B launching the Wentian lab cabin module in July, 2022
The module relocation process with rotation arm equipped by the Wentian lab cabin module
The module relocation process with rotation arm equipped by the Wentian lab cabin module

The construction of the Chinese Space Station officially began in April 2021. The planned 11 missions include three module launches, four crewed missions, and four autonomous cargo flights.[96] On 29 April 2021, the first component of the station, Tianhe core module, was launched to the orbit aboard the Long March 5B rocket from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site.[97] On 29 May 2021, Tianzhou 2 autonomous cargo spacecraft was launched to the Tianhe core module in preparation for the Shenzhou 12 crew, who will be responsible for testing Tianhe's various systems and preparing for future operations.[98] On 17 June 2021, Shenzhou 12 team docked with the space station, marking them the first visitors to the Tiangong station.[99] The first crew mission began the examination of the core module and verification of key technologies.[100] On 4 July 2021, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo began their first spacewalk in upgraded Chinese Feitian spacesuits, outfitting the space stations with extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment, such as foot restraints and the standing platform for Chinarm. Shenzhou 12 commander Nie Haisheng stayed inside the station and tested the robotic arm movements.[101] Liu Boming and Nie Haisheng completed the second spacewalk on 20 August 2021 and installed various devices outside of the station, including a thermal control system, a panoramic camera, and other equipment.[102] On 16 September 2021, the Shenzhou 12 crew entered the returning spacecraft and undocked from Tianhe. Before leaving the orbit, the crew performed various radial rendezvous (R-Bar) maneuvers to circumnavigate around the space station. They tested the guidance system and recorded lighting conditions while approaching the Tianhe from different angles.[103][104] The crew landed in the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia on the same day.[105] Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft, which arrived at the launch facility a month earlier,[106] was immediately rolled out onto the launch pad for the next supply mission.[104]

On 20 September 2021, Tianzhou 3 autonomous freighter was launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in preparation for the arrival of Shenzhou 13 crew.[107] The Shenzhou 13 was the first six-month mission on the Tiangong station, whereas previous Shenzhou 12 was only three months in length.[108] The Shenzhou 13 docked with the space station on 15 October 2021.[109][110][111] Missions for the Shenzhou 13 crew included orbit experiments, spacewalks, and preparations for the station's future expansion.[112] On 7 November 2021, Shenzhou 13 crew Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping conducted the first spacewalks to test the next-generation EVA suit and robotic Chinarm, making Wang Yaping China's first female spacewalker.[113] One of the missions in the 6.5-hour extravehicular activity was to install a dual-arm connector to the 10-meter-long robotic arm. The connector can provide the capability for Chinarm to extend in length with another 5-meter-long segment mounted on the Wentian module that will arrive in 2022. According to Gao Shen of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the combined 15-meter Chinarm will have greater range and weight-carrying capacity.[78] During spacewalks, various preparations were performed on the robotic arm for manipulation and construction of future modules.[78]

On 26 December 2021, Shenzhou 13 crew Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu conducted the second spacewalk to install a panoramic camera, which will be used for space station monitoring and robotic arm observation.[114] They also practiced various movements with the help of Chinarm controlled by the monitoring astronaut Wang Yaping inside the station.[115] During the construction phase of the station in 2021, according to documents filed by China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and reported by Reuters, the station had two "close encounters" with SpaceX's Starlink satellites on July 1 and October 21, with the station conducting evasive adjustment maneuvers.[116][117][118] On 5 January 2022, Shenzhou 13 team used the 10-meter long Chinarm to relocate the Tianzhou 2 supply ship by 20 degrees before returning it to the original location. This maneuver was conducted to practice the procedures, equipment, and backup operation system needed for future module assembly.[77] On January 13, the crew tested the emergency docking system by controlling the cargo spacecraft manually.[119] In March 2022, Shenzhou 13 crew began the preparation to undock from the space station.[120] The crew landed in China on 16 April 2022, after staying 182 days in the low-Earth orbit.[121][122] Soon afterward, China launched Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft in preparation for the next crewed mission in May.[123] The automated freighter docked with the space station on 9 May 2022, and carried vital maintenance equipment and a refrigerator for scientific experiment.[124]

Beginning with the Shenzhou 14, China officially started the final construction phase for the space station, with three astronauts tasked to oversee the arrival of two labotorary modules in 2022.[125] On 5 June 2022, Shenzhou 14 crew arrived at the space station,[126] docking at the Earth-facing nadir port.[127] Shenzhou 14 crew will begin the assembly for both Wentian and Mengtian modules, arriving in second half of the year.[127] The crew installed carbon dioxide reduction system for the space station, tested Feitian spacesuits, and debugged Tianhe core module.[128] On 19 July 2022, Tianzhou 3 was undocked from the station, making way for the arrival of the Wentian module.[129] On 24 July 2022, the Wentian laboratory module was launched from the Wenchang space center and rendezvoused with the Tianhe core module on the same day.[130][46] Wentian is the second module for the Tiangong space station, and the first laboratory cabin module (LCM). The module is equipped with an airlock cabin, which will become the primary entry-exit point for future EVAs.[47] The module also feature backup avionics, propulsion, and life support systems, improving Tiangong space station's operational redundancy.[46][131] On 2 September 2022, the crew member Chen Dong and Liu Yang performed their first spacewalk from the new Wentian airlock, installing and adjusting various external equipment as well as testing emergency return procedures.[132][48] On 17 September 2022, astronauts Chen Dong and Cai Xuzhe performed the second spacewalk, installing external pumps and verified emergency rescue capability.[133] On 30 September 2022, all crew members worked in coordination, moving the Wentian module from the forward port to the starboard lateral docking port, which is its planned permanent location on 30 September 2022 at 04:44 UTC.[134] The relocation process was largely automated with the assistance of the Indexing robotic arm.[135] In October 2022, CMSA prepared to launch the third and final module, Mengtian, to complete the construction for the Tiangong space station.[95][136]

On 31 October 2022, Mengtian module was launched from the Wenchang space center,[137] and docked with the station 13 hours later.[53][138][139] The assembly of the Mengtian marks the final step in the 1.5-year construction process.[140][141][142] According to China Academy of Space Technology, the rendezvous and docking process for Mengtian was conducted expeditiously, as then L-shaped Tiangong station consumed large amount of energy to stay oriented in its asymmetrical arrangement.[79] On 3 November 2022, Mengtian was relocated autonomously from the forward docking port to port-side lateral docking port via Indexing robotic arm, and successfully berthed at its planned permanent location with Tianhe module at 01:32UTC (9:32BJT), forming a T-shape.[143] Subsequently, CMSA announced the construction of the Tiangong space station is officially complete.[144] Designer of Mengtian module, Li Guangxing, explained the space station was maneuvered to a special position, utilizing the Earth's gravity to help stabilized the docking process.[144] At 07:12UTC, The Shenzhou 14 crew entered the Mengtian module.[144][145] On 10 November 2022, Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft undocked from the Tiangong, and Tianzhou 5 was prepared to launch on the same day.[146] Tianzhou 5 was launched on 12 November 2022, carrying supplies, experiments, and microsatellites to the space station.[147][148] It also contained gifts for China's first crew handover ceremony in orbit.[149] The completed station had extra capacity for expanded crew activities and living space for six, allowing crew rotation.[150] On 29 November 2022, the Shenzhou 15 crew Fei Junlong, Deng Qingming, and Zhang Lu[151] was launched to the space station.[152] The crew spent one week together for handover and verification for sustainable six-man operations.[153][154] With the crew rotation and contentious operation, China commenced its permanent space presence.[155][156][157]

Expansion

According to CMSA, the Tiangong space station is expected to be expanded from three to six modules,[137][158] with improved versions of the Tianhe, Wentian, and Mengtian modules.[158]

According Wang Xiang, commander of the space station system at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the potential next phase would be adding a new core module. “Following our current design, we can continue to launch an extension module to dock with the forward section of the space station, and the extension module can carry a new hub for docking with the subsequent space vehicles,” Wang told CCTV.[159][160]

The Xuntian space telescope module is expected to launch in late 2023.[139]

International co-operation

See also: Wolf Amendment and Politics of the International Space Station § China

China's incentive to build its own space station was amplified after US Congress prohibited NASA from any direct engagement & cooperation with CNSA thus effectively prohibiting any Chinese participation in the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011,[161] although China, Russia and Europe mutually vowed intentions to maintain a cooperative and multilateral approach in space.[162] Between 2007 and 2011, the space agencies of Russia, Europe, and China carried out the ground-based preparations in the Mars500 project, which complement the ISS-based preparations for a human mission to Mars.[163]

Cooperation in the field of crewed space flight between the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA, formerly known as CMSEO) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) was examined in 2011, and participation in the development of China crewed space stations and cooperation with China in the fields such as visiting astronauts, and scientific research was discussed.[164]

An initial cooperative agreement with China National Space Administration and the Italian Space Agency was subsequently signed in November 2011, covering areas of collaboration within space transportation, telecommunications, Earth observation, etc.[165] In 2019, an Italian experiment High Energy cosmic-Radiation Detection (HERD) was scheduled on board the Chinese station.[166] Tiangong also involved cooperation from France, Sweden, and Russia.[167]

On 22 February 2017, the CMSA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) signed an agreement to cooperate on long-term human spaceflight activities.[168] The agreement holds importance due to Italy's leading position in the field of human spaceflight with regards to the creation and exploitation of the International Space Station (Node 2, Node 3, Columbus, Cupola, Leonardo, Raffaello, Donatello, PMM, etc.) and it signified Italy's increased anticipation in China's developing space station programme.[169] The European Space Agency (ESA) started human spaceflight training with CMSA in 2017, with the ultimate goal of sending ESA astronauts to Tiangong.[170] To prepare for the future missions, selected ESA astronauts lived together with their Chinese counterparts and engaged in training sessions such as splashes-down survival, language learning, and spacecraft operations.[171][172]

International experiments were selected by the CMSA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in a UN session in 2019. 42 applications were submitted, and nine experiments were accepted.[173] Some of the experiments are a continuation to the ones on Tiangong-2 such as POLAR-2, an experiment of researching Gamma-ray burst polarimetry, proposed by Switzerland, Poland, Germany and China.[174] Canadian Professor Dr. Tricia Larose from the University of Oslo develops a cutting-edge cancer research experiment for the station.[175] The 31-day experiment will test to see if weightlessness has a positive effect in stopping cancer growth.[176] The High Energy Cosmic Ray Detector project is conducted by a 200 scientists team from Europe, mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.[144] Under UNOOSA framework, Tiangong is also expected to host experiments from Belgium, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Spain,[174] involving 23 institutions and 17 countries.[35][177]

Regarding the participation of foreign astronauts, CMSA has repeatedly communicated its support for such proposals. During the press conference of the Shenzhou 12 mission, Zhou Jianping, the chief designer of China Manned Space Program explained that multiple countries had expressed their wishes to participate. He told journalists that the future participation of foreign astronauts "will be guaranteed".[178] Ji Qiming, an assistant director at CMSA told reporters that he believes "in the near future, after the completion of the Chinese space station, we will see Chinese and foreign astronauts fly and work together."[179] In October 2022, the station opened its selection process to Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions of China.[154][180]

Life aboard

Crew activities

Astronauts on the Tiangong station follow China Standard Time (CST) for their daily schedule. The crew often wakes up around 7:00 and begins their daily conference with Mission Control in Beijing before starting work at 08:00 (00:00UTC). The crew will then follow their planned schedule until 21:00, after which they report their work process to Mission Control. At 13:30, astronauts enter their living quarters to take a nap, which typically takes an hour. The crew also has multiple breaks for eating and resting.[181] The Tiangong station features a lighting scene function to simulate lighting conditions on Earth, including daylight, dusk, and night. As the station experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets per day in low Earth orbit, this function helps to avoid disruption to the crew's circadian rhythm.[181][182]

The Tiangong space station is fitted with home automation functions, including remote-controlled appliances and a logistics management system.[182] The crew can use their tablet computers to identify, locate, and organize items inside the station, as all items in the station are marked by QR codes. This will help ensure an orderly environment as more cargo arrives.[182] The station possesses a Wi-Fi network for wireless connections and each astronaut wears a bone-conduction headphone and microphone for easy communication.[183] Inter-device communication inside the station is completely wireless via the Wi-Fi network to avoid cord mess.[182]

Food and personal hygiene

See also: Space food and Sleep in space

Meals consisting of 120 different types of food, selected based on astronauts' preferences, are stored aboard. Staples including shredded pork in garlic sauce, kung pao chicken, black pepper beef, yuxiang shredded pork, pickled cabbage, and beverages, including a variety of teas and juices, are resupplied by trips of the Tianzhou-class robotic cargo spacecraft. Fresh fruits and vegetables are stored in coolers. Huang Weifen, the chief astronaut trainer of CMSA, explains that most of the food is prepared to be solid, boneless, small-piece. Condiments such as pork sauce and Sichuan pepper sauce are used to compensate for the changes in the sense of taste in microgravity. The station is equipped with a small kitchen table for food preparation, a refrigerator, a water dispenser, and the first-ever microwave oven in spaceflight[181][184][185] so that astronauts can "always have hot food whenever they need."[186][187] Following the astronauts' feedback, larger supplies of vegetables were included since Tianzhou 4, making the variety of vegetable increased to 32.[188]

The station's core module, Tianhe, provides the living quarters for the crew members,[189][190] containing of three separate sleeping berths,[191] a space toilet, shower facility, and gym equipment.[192] Each berth features one small circular window,[193] a headphone set, ventilation, and other amenities.[194] Neuromuscular electrical stimulator is used to prevent muscle atrophy. The noise level in the working area is set at 58 decibels, while in the sleeping area, the noise is kept at 49 decibels.[195][196] The ventilation system provides air circulation to the crew, with 0.08m/s wind speed for the working areas and 0.05m/s for the sleeping stations.[182] Three additional living quarters for short-term stay are located in the Wentian laboratory module.[49]

Operations

Tiangong is a permanently crewed station (from 5 June 2022), typically staffed with a crew of 3 people and can support up to 6 people.[1][197] After the completion of the station in November 2022, it housed a crew of 6 people for the first time for 5 days during the crew rotation from Shenzhou 14 to Shenzhou 15 in December 2022.[197] Operations will be controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center in China. To guarantee the safety of astronauts on board, a Long March 2F/G with a Shenzhou spacecraft will always be on standby for an emergency rescue mission.[198]

Crewed mission

Main article: Shenzhou (spacecraft)

Initial crewed missions to Tiangong, including its first mission Shenzhou 12, which lasted the planned 90 days, used the Shenzhou spacecraft. Subsequent missions starting with Shenzhou 13 will last a planned 180 days, which became the normal duration of a mission cycle at Tiangong.[199]

CMSA announced the testing of a next-generation crewed spacecraft to eventually replace Shenzhou. It is designed to carry astronauts to Tiangong and offer the capability for lunar exploration. China's next-generation crew carrier is reusable with a detachable heat shield built to handle higher-temperature returns through Earth's atmosphere. According to CMSA officials, the new capsule design is larger than the Shenzhou. The spacecraft is capable of carrying astronauts to the Moon, and can accommodate up to six to seven crew members at a time, three more astronauts than Shenzhou.[200] The new crewed spacecraft has a cargo section that allows astronauts to bring cargo back to Earth, whereas the Tianzhou cargo resupply spacecraft is not designed to bring any cargo back to Earth.[200]

Cargo resupply

Main article: Tianzhou (spacecraft)

Tianzhou (Heavenly Vessel), a modified derivative of the Tiangong-1 spacecraft, is used as robotic cargo spacecraft to resupply this station.[201] The launch mass of Tianzhou is around 13,000 kg with a payload of around 6,000 kg.[202] Launch, rendezvous and docking shall be fully autonomous, with mission control and crew used in override or monitoring roles. This system becomes very reliable with standardizations that provide significant cost benefits in repetitive routine operations. An automated approach could allow the assembly of modules orbiting other worlds prior to crewed missions.[203]

List of missions

See also: List of human spaceflights in Tiangong Program, List of human spaceflights to the Tiangong space station, and List of Tiangong Space Station expeditions

Key
  Uncrewed cargo spacecraft are in light blue colour
  Crewed spacecraft are in light green colour
  Modules are in beige colour
Launch date (UTC) Docking date (UTC) Undocking date (UTC) Result Spacecraft/payload Launch vehicle Launch site Launch provider Docking/berthing port Duration[b]
29 April 2021, 03:23:15[4] Success Tianhe Long March 5B China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC N/A
29 May 2021, 12:55:29[204] 29 May 2021, 21:01[205] 27 March 2022, 07:59 Tianzhou 2 Long March 7 China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC Tianhe port[c] 301 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes
17 June 2021, 01:22:27[206] 17 June 2021, 07:54[206] 16 September 2021, 00:56 [207] Shenzhou 12 Long March 2F/G China Jiuquan SLS-1 China CASC Tianhe forward 90 days, 14 hours and 8 minutes
20 September 2021, 07:10:11[208][209] 20 September 2021, 14:08[210] 17 July 2022, 02:59 Tianzhou 3 Long March 7 China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC Tianhe forward[d] 299 days, 12 hours and 51 minutes
15 October 2021, 16:23:56[211][212] 15 October 2021, 22:56[213] 15 April 2022, 16:44 [214] Shenzhou 13 Long March 2F/G China Jiuquan SLS-1 China CASC Tianhe nadir 181 days, 14 hours and 46 minutes
9 May 2022, 17:56:37[215] 10 May 2022, 00:54 9 November 2022, 06:55 Tianzhou 4 Long March 7 China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC Tianhe aft 183 days, 6 hours and 1 minute
5 June 2022, 02:44:10[216] 5 June 2022, 09:42 4 December 2022, 03:01 Shenzhou 14 Long March 2F/G China Jiuquan SLS-1 China CASC Tianhe nadir 181 days, 14 hours and 11 minutes
24 July 2022, 06:22:32[217][218] 24 July 2022, 19:13[219] Wentian Long March 5B China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC Tianhe starboard[e]
31 October 2022, 07:37:23.191[218] 31 October 2022, 20:27 Mengtian Long March 5B China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC Tianhe port[f]
12 November 2022, 02:03:12:374[220][221] 12 November 2022, 04:10 TBD Tianzhou 5 Long March 7 China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC Tianhe aft
29 November 2022, 15:08:17[222] 29 November 2022, 21:42[223] TBD Shenzhou 15 Long March 2F/G China Jiuquan SLS-1 China CASC Tianhe forward
December 2023 Planned Xuntian Long March 5B China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC N/A

End of mission

Tiangong is designed to be used for 10 years, though it could be extended to 15 years[224] and will accommodate three astronauts.[225] CMSA crewed spacecraft use deorbital burns to slow their velocity, resulting in their re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere. Vehicles carrying a crew have a heat shield which prevents the vehicle's destruction caused by aerodynamic heating upon contact with the Earth's atmosphere. The station itself has no heat-shield; however, small parts of space stations can reach the surface of the Earth, so uninhabited areas will be targeted for de-orbit manoeuvres.[84]

Visibility

Similar to the ISS, the Tiangong space station can also be seen from earth with the naked eye. However, as it is smaller in size to the ISS, it will not be as bright as the ISS. The Tiangong space station can reach a brightness of at least -2.2 mag [1].

In popular culture

The Tiangong space station and the International Space Station are subjects in the 2013 feature film Gravity.[226]

Near the end of the Netflix original animated film Over the Moon (2020), a red dragon is depicted playing with Tiangong space station.

Notes

  1. ^ Excludes visiting cargo like Tianzhou and crew vehicles like Shenzhou that are meant for supplementing the space station
  2. ^ Duration is calculated from the moment of entry into the Tianhe core module to the time of undocking with the station.
  3. ^ Initially docked to aft port, moved to forward port on 18 Sep 2021, and then again to portside port on 6 Jan 2022
  4. ^ Initially docked to aft port, moved to forward port on 20 Apr 2022
  5. ^ Initially docked to forward port, it was moved to starboard port on 30 Sep 2022 by the Indexing Robot Arm
  6. ^ Initially docked to forward port, it was moved to Portside port on 3 Nov 2022 by the Indexing Robot Arm

References

  1. ^ a b "China's space station to host 6 astronauts by end of 2022-Xinhua".
  2. ^ a b c d e "The orbital parameters of the core module assembly". China Manned Space. 20 September 2021. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  3. ^ "To infinity and beyond: After Space Station, China has plans for a kilometer-long mega spaceship". India Today. 8 September 2021. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Clark, Stephen (29 April 2021). "Assembly of Chinese space station begins with successful core module launch". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b "China launches space station core module Tianhe". Xinhua. 29 April 2021. The Tianhe module will act as the management and control hub of the space station Tiangong, meaning Heavenly Palace
  6. ^ a b "集大众智慧于探索融中华文化于飞天". 5 November 2013. 最终决定沿用“天宫”作为载人空间站的整体名称,但后面不再加序号 (The final decision was to use "Tiangong" as the overall name of the manned space station, but without the serial number at the end)
  7. ^ a b c Barbosa, Rui (1 March 2021). "China preparing to build Tiangong station in 2021, complete by 2022". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b "中国载人航天工程标识及空间站、货运飞船名称正式公布" [CMSE logo and space station and cargo ship name officially announced] (in Chinese (China)). China Manned Space Engineering Office. 31 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b Ping, Wu (June 2016). "China Manned Space Programme: Its Achievements and Future Developments" (PDF). China Manned Space Engineering Office. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  10. ^ ChinaPower (7 December 2016). "What's driving China's race to build a space station?". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  11. ^ "江泽民总书记为长征-2F火箭的题词". 平湖档案网 (Pinghu Archives Website). 11 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  12. ^ "中国机械工业集团公司董事长任洪斌一行来中国运载火箭技术研究院考察参观". 中国运载火箭技术研究院. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  13. ^ "江泽民为"神舟"号飞船题名". 东方新闻. 13 November 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  14. ^ "中国战略秘器"神龙号"空天飞机惊艳亮相". 大旗网. 6 June 2008. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  15. ^ "基本概况". 中国科学院上海光学精密机械研究所. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2008.[dead link]
  16. ^ "金怡濂让中国扬威 朱镕基赞他是"做大事的人"". 搜狐. 23 February 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  17. ^ a b Branigan, Tania; Sample, Ian (26 April 2011). "China unveils rival to International Space Station". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Moskowitz, Clara. "China's 1st Space Docking Inspires Love Poetry". NBC News.
  19. ^ "China sets out space-station plan, asks public to name it". theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  20. ^ "China asks people to suggest names for space station". The Times Of India. The Economic Times. 26 April 2011.
  21. ^ a b c "China readying for space station era: Yang Liwei". xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Jones, Andrew (2 October 2019). "This Is China's New Spacecraft to Take Astronauts to the Moon (Photos)". SPACE.com. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  23. ^ a b David, Leonard (21 April 2021). "China to Loft Key Space Station Module". SpaceRef. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  24. ^ "China launches core module of new space station to orbit". space.com. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Planned space station details made public". China Daily. 26 April 2018. The two space labs, Wentian, or Quest for Heavens, and Mengtian, or Dreaming of Heavens
  26. ^ "China launches 2nd space station module to support science experiments". Space.com. 24 July 2022. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d e Beil, Adrian (30 October 2022). "China launches Mengtian science module to Tiangong space station". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  28. ^ Jones, Andrew (20 April 2021). "China wants to launch its own Hubble-class telescope as part of space station". Space.com. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  29. ^ "空间实验室任务". China Manned Space. Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  30. ^ J. Kiger, Patrick (25 June 2021). "What Does China's New 'Heavenly Palace' in Space Mean for the ISS?". howstuffworks.
  31. ^ Goswami, Namrata (1 May 2021). "China Moves Toward a Permanent Space Presence". The Diplomat.
  32. ^ "China to open space station to commercial activity". SpaceNews. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  33. ^ Jones, Andrew (22 March 2022). "China plans to open its Tiangong space station for tourism within a decade". Space.com.
  34. ^ @TiangongStation (14 February 2022). "Once Wentian and Mengtian experimental modules dock with Tianhe, China Space Station will have in total 23 experiment racks on board. There will also be platforms for exposed experiments: 22 on Wentian and 30 on Mengtian" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ a b Mallapaty, Smriti (23 July 2021). "China's space station is preparing to host 1,000 scientific experiments". Nature. 596 (7870): 20–21. Bibcode:2021Natur.596...20M. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-02018-3. PMID 34302152. S2CID 236213203.
  36. ^ Mallapaty, Smriti (28 October 2022). "China's space station is almost complete — how will scientists use it?". Nature.
  37. ^ Cuthbertson, Anthony (1 September 2022). "China grows rice in space using new zero-gravity laboratory". Independent.
  38. ^ 张馨方 (6 December 2021). ""天宫课堂"第一课定于12月9日下午在中国空间站开讲,此次太空授课活动将进行全程现场直播". Mp.weixin.qq.com (in Chinese).
  39. ^ Jones, Andrew (17 December 2021). "China's Shenzhou 13 astronauts stream live science lecture from space station". Space.com.
  40. ^ Gray, Tyler (15 April 2022). "Shenzhou-13 mission ends with safe return of Chinese taikonaut trio". NASASpaceFlight.
  41. ^ Jones, Andrew (11 October 2022). "Watch astronauts give science lesson from China's space station early Wednesday". Space.com.
  42. ^ "Amateur radio payload for the Tiangong space station". AMSAT-UK. 17 March 2022.
  43. ^ "Upcoming Amateur Radio Payload on the Tiangong Space Station". HAMSAT ZA. 8 May 2022.
  44. ^ "Astronauts conduct second Chinese space station spacewalk". SpaceNews. 20 August 2021.
  45. ^ CGTN (29 September 2021). "Airshow China 2018: Chinese space station module makes public debut". China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
  46. ^ a b c Jones, Andrew (24 July 2022). "China launches 2nd space station module to support science experiments". Space.com.
  47. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (14 July 2022). "China prepares for July 24 launch of second space station module". Space News.
  48. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (2 September 2022). "China's Shenzhou 14 astronauts perform 1st spacewalk out of new module (video)". Space.com.
  49. ^ a b "China launches second space station module, Wentian". Reuters. 24 July 2022.
  50. ^ Clark, Stephen (24 July 2022). "Wentian science module docks with China's space station". Spaceflight Now.
  51. ^ Ling, Xin (12 October 2022). "China's space station prepares for new frontiers of science with launch of Mengtian module". South China Morning Post.
  52. ^ a b c d "九问"梦天"——详解中国空间站梦天实验舱发射任务". Xinhua. 1 November 2022.
  53. ^ a b c The Associated Press (31 October 2022). "China launches 3rd and final space station component". ABC News.
  54. ^ a b Graham, William; Gebhardt, Chris (28 April 2021). "China readies launch of Tianhe module, the start of ambitious two-year station construction effort". NASASpaceflight.com. This means the two future science modules, Wentian (“Quest for the heavens”) and Mengtian (“Dreaming of the heavens”), cannot dock directly to their planned radial port locations. [...] To account for this, each module will carry a Russian Lyappa robotic arm — like the ones used on Mir for the same purpose — to move the module from the forward port to its respective permanent location on a radial port of Tianhe's docking hub.
  55. ^ a b Yang, Hong (2020). Manned Spacecraft Technologies. China: Springer. p. 355. ISBN 978-9811548970.
  56. ^ Graham, William; Gebhardt, Chris (28 April 2021). "China readies launch of Tianhe module, the start of ambitious two-year station construction effort". NASASpaceflight.com.
  57. ^ Ping, Wu (23 April 2016). "空间站工程研制进展" [Space Station Project Development Progress] (PDF). China Manned Space Engineering. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  58. ^ a b c "周建平:走进新时代的中国载人航天工程". 中国载人航天工程网. 24 April 2018. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  59. ^ 杨希 (25 July 2022). "China's Wentian lab module docks with Tianhe core module combination". China.org.cn. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  60. ^ "我国成功实施问天实验舱转位". 科学新闻网. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  61. ^ a b 王, 翔; 王, 为 (2021). "天宫空间站关键技术特点综述". 中国科学: 技术科学 (in Chinese). 51 (11). doi:10.1360/SST-2021-0304. S2CID 241130963. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  62. ^ China 'N Asia Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (3 November 2022). "Official completion time of Mengtian relocation is 01:32UTC" (Tweet). Retrieved 3 November 2022 – via Twitter.
  63. ^ Jones, Andrew (14 July 2022). "China launches new communications satellite to support Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  64. ^ John Cook; Valery Aksamentov; Thomas Hoffman; Wes Bruner (1 January 2011). ISS Interface Mechanisms and their Heritage (PDF). AIAA Space 2011 (Long Beach, CA). p. 26. JSC-CN-24225. Retrieved 31 March 2015 – via NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server. The Chinese APAS is a clone of the Russian APAS. A view of the Chinese APAS is shown in Figure 19
  65. ^ a b Jones, Morris (18 November 2011). "Shenzhou for Dummies". SpaceDaily. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  66. ^ "China's First Space Station Module Readies for Liftoff". SpaceNews. 1 August 2011. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  67. ^ Go Taikonauts Team (9 September 2011). "Chinese Docking Adapter Compatible with International Standard". Go Taikonaut. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  68. ^ "Differences between Shenzhou-8 and Shenzhou-7". CCTV. 31 October 2011. Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2015. there will be an 800-millimetre cylindrical passage connecting Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1.
  69. ^ Clark, Stephen (18 June 2012). "Chinese astronauts open door on orbiting research lab". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 March 2015. Jing floated through the narrow 31-inch passage leading into Tiangong 1
  70. ^ Qiu Huayon; Liu Zhi; Shi Junwei; Zheng Yunqing (August 2015). "Birth of the Chinese Docking System". Go Taikonauts!. No. 16. p. 12.
  71. ^ "Testimony of James Oberg: Senate Science, Technology, and Space Hearing: International Space Exploration Program". SpaceRef. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  72. ^ "China Focus: Effective power supply energizes China's space station project". Xinhua News Agency. 9 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  73. ^ Jones, Andrew (28 April 2021). "Three Decades in the Making, China's Space Station Launches This Week". IEEE.
  74. ^ a b Chen, Stephen (2 June 2021). "How China's space station could help power astronauts to Mars".
  75. ^ 张 (Zhang), 保淑 (Baoshu) (21 June 2021). "配置4台霍尔电推进发动机 "天宫"掀起太空动力变革". 中国新闻网 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  76. ^ Ozdemir, Derya (3 June 2021). "China's New Space Station Will Be Powered by Ion Propulsion System". Interesting Engineering.
  77. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (9 January 2022). "On China's new space station, a robotic arm test paves way for future construction". Space.com.
  78. ^ a b c Jones, Andrew (11 November 2021). "China's first Shenzhou 13 spacewalk sees 2 astronauts test suits, robotic arm". Space.com.
  79. ^ a b Ling, Xin (1 November 2022). "China's space station takes final shape with the arrival of Mengtian module". South China Morning Post.
  80. ^ Xinhua (31 October 2022). "China launches lab module Mengtian as space station approaches completion". China News Service.
  81. ^ a b Hu Zhan (5 November 2019). "An Update on the Chinese Space Station Telescope Project" (PDF). National Astronomical Observatories. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  82. ^ Young, Chris (20 July 2022). "China's giant space telescope will have a 300 times wider view than Hubble". Interesting Engineering.
  83. ^ China Details Ambitious Space Station Goals Space.com 7 March 2011
  84. ^ a b Klotz, Irene (12 November 2013). "China Unveils Space Station Research Plans". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 25 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  85. ^ "Chinese space program insights emerge from National People's Congress". SpaceNews. 2 April 2018.
  86. ^ Howell, Elizabeth. "China wants to build a new space station. A planned launch in April will set the stage". Space.com.
  87. ^ Clark, Stephen (10 January 2021). "China to begin construction of space station this year". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  88. ^ C. Barbosa, Rui (1 March 2021). "China preparing to build Tiangong station in 2021, complete by 2022". NASASpaceFlight.
  89. ^ Yang, Jian (20 October 2022). "Spirit of space exploration motivates generations of Chinese astronauts". Shanghai Daily.
  90. ^ Futron Corp. (2003). "China and the Second Space Age" (PDF). Futron Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  91. ^ "All components of the docking mechanism was designed and manufactured in-house China". Xinhua News Agency. 3 November 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  92. ^ "China next year manual spacecraft Temple docking, multiply group has completed primary". Beijing News. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  93. ^ Woodall, Tatyana (8 September 2022). "How Tiangong station will make China a force in the space race". Popluar Science.
  94. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (12 September 2022). "China's New Space Station Has a Big Role to Play—Scientifically and Diplomatically". TIME.
  95. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (18 October 2022). "China gears up for launches to complete Tiangong space station". Space News.
  96. ^ David, Leonard (30 April 2021). "China's new space station will need 10 more launches to complete". Space.com.
  97. ^ Well, Mike (29 April 2021). "China launches core module of new space station to orbit". Space.com.
  98. ^ Wall, Mike (29 May 2021). "China launches new cargo ship to Tianhe space station module". Space.com.
  99. ^ Well, Mike (17 June 2021). "China's Shenzhou 12 spacecraft docks at space station with 3 astronauts". Space.com.
  100. ^ Well, Mike (17 June 2021). "China launches 3 astronauts to new space station". Space.com.
  101. ^ Z. Pearlman, Robert (4 July 2021). "Chinese astronauts install tools on first spacewalk outside new space station". Space.com.
  102. ^ Pultarova, Tereza (20 August 2021). "Chinese astronauts complete second spacewalk at new space station". Space.com.
  103. ^ Clark, Stephen (16 September 2021). "Shenzhou crew departs Chinese space station, heads for Earth". Spaceflight Now.
  104. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (16 September 2021). "China rolls out cargo mission rocket as Shenzhou-12 astronauts leave space station". Space News.
  105. ^ Jones, Andrew (16 September 2021). "China's 1st space station crew to return to Earth on Friday". Space.com.
  106. ^ Jones, Andrew (16 August 2021). "Rocket arrives for second Chinese space station cargo mission". Space News.
  107. ^ Well, Mike (20 September 2021). "China launches Tianzhou 3 cargo ship to new space station". Space.com.
  108. ^ Jones, Andrew (26 June 2021). "China is readying Shenzhou 13 spacecraft in case of space station emergency". Space.com.
  109. ^ Wall, Mike (15 October 2021). "China launches Shenzhou 13 astronauts on historic mission to new space station". Space.com.
  110. ^ AFP (16 October 2021). "China's Shenzhou-13 docks at space station for longest mission". Aljazeera.
  111. ^ AP (16 October 2021). "China's Shenzhou-13 spacecraft docks for 6-month mission". Independent.
  112. ^ Clark, Stephen (15 April 2022). "Chinese astronauts undock from space station, head for landing". Spaceflight Now.
  113. ^ Jones, Andrew (7 November 2021). "China's Shenzhou 13 crew takes its first spacewalk, the country's 1st by a female astronaut". Space.com.
  114. ^ Jones, Andrew (28 December 2021). "Spacewalking Chinese astronauts add camera to Tiangong space station module". space.com.
  115. ^ Davenport, Justin (26 December 2021). "Shenzhou-13 crew conducts second spacewalk of mission". NASASpaceFlight.
  116. ^ Henley, Jon (28 December 2021). "China berates US after 'close encounters' with Elon Musk satellites". The Gurdian.
  117. ^ "Chinese citizens slam Musk online after space station near-misses". Reuters. 27 December 2021.
  118. ^ Liu, Zhen (8 February 2022). "SpaceX satellites' encounters with Chinese space station were not emergencies, US says". South China Morning Post.
  119. ^ Jones, Andrew (13 January 2022). "China's Shenzhou 13 astronauts manually fly cargo ship for emergency docking test". Space.com.
  120. ^ Jones, Andrew (30 March 2022). "China's record-setting Shenzhou 13 crew preparing for mid-April return to Earth". Space.com.
  121. ^ Wall, Mike (16 April 2022). "China's Shenzhou 13 capsule lands with crew of 3 after record-setting mission". Space.com.
  122. ^ Jones, Andrew (16 April 2022). "Shenzhou-13 astronauts return to Earth after 182-day mission". Space News.
  123. ^ Beil, Adrian (9 May 2022). "Tianzhou 4 cargo launch to begin busy space station year for China". NASA Space Flight.
  124. ^ Jones, Andrew (9 May 2022). "Tianzhou-4 cargo craft docks with Chinese space station". Space News.
  125. ^ Jones, Andrew (5 June 2022). "China launches 3 astronauts to oversee construction of new Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  126. ^ Will, Mike (5 June 2022). "3 Chinese astronauts arrive at Tiangong space station for 6-month stay". Space News.
  127. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (5 June 2022). "Shenzhou-14 crewed mission arrives at Chinese space station". Space News.
  128. ^ Jones, Andrew (9 July 2022). "China's Shenzhou 14 astronauts mark busy 1st month aboard Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  129. ^ Jones, Andrew (19 July 2022). "Tianzhou 3 cargo ship undocks from China's Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  130. ^ Beil, Adrian (24 July 2022). "Chang Zheng 5B launches Wentian Laboratory Module". NASA Spaceflight.
  131. ^ Jones, Andrew (24 July 2022). "Second module docks at China's space station, large rocket stage tracked in orbit". Space News.
  132. ^ AFP (2 September 2022). "China's Shenzhou-14 astronauts carry out spacewalk". Phys.org.
  133. ^ Howell, Elizabeth (17 September 2022). "Chinese astronauts take 4-hour spacewalk outside new lab at Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  134. ^ "我国成功实施问天实验舱转位" (in Chinese). 科学新闻网. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  135. ^ Jones, Andrew (7 October 2022). "China moves Tiangong space station module to side docking port (video)". Space.com.
  136. ^ Jones, Andrew (26 October 2022). "China rolls out rocket to launch 3rd and final space station module (photos)". Space.com.
  137. ^ a b Ling, Xin (31 October 2022). "China launches Mengtian research module to finish construction of Tiangong space station". South China Morning Post.
  138. ^ Woo, Ryan; Gao, Liangping (31 October 2022). "'Dreaming of the Heavens': China launches final module to space station". Reuters.
  139. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (31 October 2022). "Final module docks at China's Tiangong space station". SpaceNews.
  140. ^ Skibba, Ramin (4 November 2022). "China Is Now a Major Space Power". WIRED.
  141. ^ Jones, Andrew (30 October 2022). "China launches final module to complete Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  142. ^ Bradsher, Keith (31 October 2022). "China Launches Its Space Station's Third and Final Module". The New York Times.
  143. ^ "In-orbit assembly maneuver a success". China News Service. 4 November 2022.
  144. ^ a b c d Ling, Xin (3 November 2022). "China astronauts say hello from completed Tiangong space station". South China Morning Post.
  145. ^ Jones, Andrew (5 November 2022). "China completes T-shaped Tiangong space station with new Mengtian module move". Space.com.
  146. ^ Jones, Andrew (10 November 2022). "Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft undocks from China's Tiangong space station (video)". Space.com.
  147. ^ Jones, Andrew (12 November 2022). "China launches Tianzhou 5 cargo ship to Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  148. ^ Ma, Josephine (12 November 2022). "China sends up cargo to space station to resupply for next manned mission". South China Morning Post.
  149. ^ Wilkins, Alex (21 July 2022). "China prepares to launch laboratory module to Tiangong space station". New Scientist.
  150. ^ Ling, Xin (11 November 2022). "China prepares for [the] mission to Tiangong space station to stock up and prepare for first crew handover in orbit". South China Morning Post.
  151. ^ Beil, Adrian (29 November 2022). "China finishing busy Space station year with Shenzhou-15". NASA spaceflight.
  152. ^ Davenport, Christian (29 November 2022). "China launches crew to recently completed space station". The Washington Post.
  153. ^ Woo, Ryan; Gao, Liangping (30 November 2022). "Chinese astronauts board space station in historic mission". Reuters.
  154. ^ a b 2Maishman, Antoinette; Radford, Elsa (1 December 2022). "Shenzhou-15: China sends new crew to Tiangong space station". BBC News.
  155. ^ Jones, Andrew (29 November 2022). "Shenzhou 15 astronauts arrive at China's space station for first crew handover". Space News.
  156. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel (30 November 2022). "Chinese milestone sets stage for new space race with U.S." The Japan Times.
  157. ^ Jones, Andrew (3 December 2022). "China's Shenzhou 15 crew has busy 6 months ahead aboard Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  158. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (3 May 2022). "China lays out big plans for its new Tiangong space station". Space.com.
  159. ^ Jones, Andrew (7 December 2022). "China is considering expanding its Tiangong space station". SpaceNews. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  160. ^ 杨书杰. "航天新征程|中国空间站永远值得期待". news.cctv.com. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  161. ^ Alamalhodaei, Aria (17 June 2021). "China launches 3 astronauts to its new space station core module". techcrunch.
  162. ^ Whitford, George (27 October 2019). "Trouble in the Stars: The Importance of US-China Bilateral Cooperation in Space". Havared International Review.
  163. ^ "Mars500 partners". ESA. 4 June 2011.
  164. ^ liushuang, ed. (28 November 2011). "Talks held between ASI and CMSEO". China Manned Space Engineering. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  165. ^ Messier, Doug (23 November 2011). "Will Italy Build Modules for Future Chinese Space Stations?". parabolicarc.
  166. ^ Cattaneo, Paolo W.; et al. (HERD Collaboration) (21 October 2019). "The space station based detector HERD: precise high energy cosmic rays physics and multimessenger astronomy". Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings. 306–308 (306–308): 85–91. Bibcode:2019NPPP..306...85C. doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysbps.2019.07.013. S2CID 209954022.
  167. ^ "EXPLAINER: China prepares space station core module launch". Independent. 28 April 2021. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022.
  168. ^ "China and Italy to cooperate on long-term human spaceflight". 22 February 2017. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  169. ^ "Agreement Italy-China". 22 February 2017. Archived from the original on 2 December 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  170. ^ "ESA and Chinese astronauts train together". European Space Agency. 24 August 2017.
  171. ^ Hollingham, Richard (27 June 2018). "Why Europe's astronauts are learning Chinese". BBC International.
  172. ^ Chen, Laurie (5 October 2018). "Europe's astronauts learning Mandarin for future China collaboration". South China Morning Post.
  173. ^ Gibney, Elizabeth (17 June 2019). "China reveals scientific experiments for its next space station". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01913-0. S2CID 197553721.
  174. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (13 July 2019). "International experiments selected to fly on Chinese space Station". spacenews.
  175. ^ Xie, Echo (27 July 2022). "Canadian cancer scientist hoping for role on China's Tiangong Space Station". South China Morning Post.
  176. ^ Xin, Ling. "China Is Set to Launch First Module of Massive Space Station". Scientific American. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  177. ^ De Guzman, Chad (31 October 2022). "China's Space Ambitions Are Fueling Competition and Collaboration". TIME.
  178. ^ Garcia, Carlos (17 June 2021). "Chinese astronauts board space station module in historic mission". Reuters.
  179. ^ Amos, Jonathan (18 June 2021). "China space station: Shenzhou-12 delivers first crew to Tianhe module". BBC News.
  180. ^ Wong, Kandy; chung, Ng Kang; Mok, Danny (2 October 2022). "Wanted: aspiring Chinese astronauts from Hong Kong and Macau". South China Morning Post.
  181. ^ a b c BBC (24 June 2021). "中国空间站:第一次入住"天宫"的宇航员发布Vlog,他们在干什么". BBC Chinese.
  182. ^ a b c d e Xinhua (30 April 2021). "Q&A: Getting to know China's space station". Xinhua.
  183. ^ "The Shenzhou XII astronauts install Wi-Fion the space station: they can make video calls with the ground at any time-Communication Technology-Wi-Fi". breakinglatest. 18 June 2021.
  184. ^ "神舟十二号里的"广东制造":首台航天微波炉被送入太空,中国太空笔实现新突破". 21 jingji (in Chinese). 21 June 2021.
  185. ^ Patel, Dhara (26 July 2022). "Building the Tiangong Space Station". Space Centre.
  186. ^ Jones, Andrew (26 June 2021). "Chinese astronauts enjoying 120 dishes during space station stay". Space.com.
  187. ^ Howell, Elizabeth (28 June 2021). "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Panda: Adorable cartoon shows astronaut life on Chinese space station". Space.com.
  188. ^ Jones, Andrew (10 May 2022). "Tianzhou-4 cargo craft docks with Chinese space station". Space News.
  189. ^ "China launches Tianhe, future living quarters for space station planned for 2022". www.scmp.com. Reuters. 29 April 2021.
  190. ^ "China launches key module of space station planned for 2022, state media reports". CNBC. Reuters. 29 April 2021.
  191. ^ "Chinese astronauts enter Tiangong space station for first time". Spaceflight Now. 17 June 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  192. ^ Chen, Stephen (17 June 2021). "First astronauts enter China's Tiangong space station after successful docking operation". www.scmp.com.
  193. ^ "贴心!原来天和核心舱有窗户,安装的位置人性化,一开始没猜出来". Sohu News (in Chinese). 22 August 2022.
  194. ^ Jones, Andrew (14 September 2021). "China's Shenzhou 12 astronauts send back stunning images of Earth (photos)". Space.com.
  195. ^ "The Bunks in the Chinese Space Station Are Absolutely Enormous". Futurism.
  196. ^ "China launches first crewed mission for space station construction". Xinhua. 17 June 2021.
  197. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (2 December 2022). "China has 6 astronauts in space for the 1st time". Space.com.
  198. ^ "China rolls out rocket for Tianzhou-2 space station supply mission". 17 May 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  199. ^ "空间站建造后续有四次载人飞行,航天员每次在轨驻留3至6个月". the paper. 29 April 2021.
  200. ^ a b "China's next-generation crew spacecraft lands after unpiloted test flight". Spaceflight Now. 8 May 2020.
  201. ^ BNS (9 September 2014). "China completes design of Tianzhou cargo spacecraft". Bramand Defence and Aerospace News. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015.
  202. ^ Ana Verayo (7 September 2014). "China Completes Design of First Cargo Spacecraft". China Topix.
  203. ^ Press Trust of India (2 March 2014). "China plans to launch Tianzhou cargo ship into space by 2016". Indian Express.
  204. ^ Graham, William (29 May 2021). "China launches Tianzhou 2, first cargo mission to new space station". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  205. ^ Jones, Andrew (29 May 2021). "Tianzhou-2 docks with China's space station module". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  206. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (17 June 2021). "Chinese astronauts enter Tiangong space station for first time". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  207. ^ "神舟十二号载人飞船撤离空间站组合体". China Manned Space (in Chinese). 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  208. ^ Wall, Mike (17 September 2021). "China rolls out rocket for Tianzhou 3 cargo mission ahead of Monday launch (photos)". Space.com.
  209. ^ "【2021年9月待定】长征七号 • 天舟三号货运飞船 • LongMarch 7 Y4 • Tianzhou-3". spaceflightfans.cn (in Chinese). 21 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  210. ^ "Tianzhou-3 spacecraft docks with Chinese space station". spacenews.com. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  211. ^ "关于神舟十三号发射观摩暨"少年宇航技师"训练营活动延期的通知". www.csaspace.org.cn.
  212. ^ "China expected to name woman for next space station crew". www.scmp.com. 22 September 2021.
  213. ^ "China's Shenzhou 13 crew enters space station for 6-month stay". www.scmp.com. 16 October 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  214. ^ "神舟十三号载人飞船撤离空间站组合体". China Manned Space (in Chinese). 16 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  215. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (16 March 2022). "According to a travel agency, Long March 7 Y5 will launch Tianzhou 4 on MAY 10" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  216. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (6 April 2022). "Shenzhou 14 to be launched by Long March 2F Y14 on June.05 2022" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  217. ^ "SCIO briefing about China's progress on space station construction | english.scio.gov.cn". english.scio.gov.cn. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  218. ^ a b "飞行任务时间表出炉!" [The mission schedule is out!]. Shaoxing (in Chinese). 17 April 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  219. ^ 杨希 (25 July 2022). "China's Wentian lab module docks with Tianhe core module combination". China.org.cn. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  220. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (18 September 2022). "The next cargo spacecraft to resupply China Space Station, Tianzhou-5, has arrived at Wenchang for launch on Nov. 06. It also carries a 4U cubesat CAS-10 (XW-4) and will deploy on ~Dec. 15" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  221. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (18 April 2022). "key takeaways from the press conference: 7 launches in total from Wenchang [...] 11/.. CZ7 Tianzhou-5 [...]" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  222. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (8 October 2022). "Updated schedule of missions to China Space Station in 2022" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  223. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (29 November 2022). "BREAKING. #Shenzhou15 has docked at Tianhe Core Module's forward port at 21:42UTC" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  224. ^ "China successfully launches first module of planned space station". cnn.com. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  225. ^ "China Space Station to be completed in 2022". Youtube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  226. ^ "Plot Summary (Gravity)". IMDb. Retrieved 21 March 2022.