Video: China launches the central unit of its space station into space
April 29, 2021 03:40 GMT
The Asian country plans to complete construction of the space station by the end of 2022.
China sent into space on Thursday the main unit to build its space station, starting a series of launches in which it seeks to complete work by the end of next year.
The unit was named after Tianhe and traveled on a Long March-5BY2 missile from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in the south of the country. At 16.6 meters in length and 4.2 meters in diameter, it is the largest spacecraft developed by China.
The capsule will be a management and control center for the Beijing space station called Tiangong, or “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese, and will be able to dock up to three spacecraft simultaneously for a short period, or two spacecraft if a longer stay is planned.
The T-station will consist of a main unit in the center and lab capsules on both sides. It will operate in low Earth orbit with an altitude of 340 to 450 km. Among other details, it has been reported that each unit weighs more than 20 tons.
The Asian country’s space station will be 10 years old, although Chinese experts believe it could exceed 15 years with proper maintenance and repairs.
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