The specialists of the Chinese Wenchang cosmodrome have almost completed preparations for launching the laboratory module “Wentian” into space. Its launch will take place on July 24. The Long March 5В heavy rocket will be used for the mission.
Capabilities of the “Wentian” module
The laboratory module “Wentian” will be the second element of the new Chinese orbital station “Tiangong”, which will significantly increase the capabilities of the complex. Its length is 17.9 meters, diameter — 4.2 meters, weight — about 20 tons.
“Wentian” duplicates the control functions of the main module of the station. It is equipped with an airlock and a robotic arm. After joining the complex, it is “Wentian” that will take over the functions of the main airlock of the station.
The new module is equipped with scientific equipment and can accommodate three Taikonauts. After docking the “Wentian”, the Chinese orbital station will be able to accommodate six people, which will allow changing crews directly in orbit and make it continuously habitable. The new module will also be used for storing supplies and will significantly expand the power capabilities of the station due to 30-meter solar panels.
Assembly of the Chinese orbital station
The Long March-5B rocket with the Wentian module will be launched on July 24. The crew on board the Tiangong station underwent intensive training operations for approaching and docking the module, including the use of a robotic arm.
If the operation is successful, the third Mengtian module will be docked to the station in October 2022. And at the end of next year, the autonomous Xuntian telescope will go into space. It will be put into the same orbit as Tiangong and from time to time will dock with the station for refueling, maintenance and replacement of scientific instruments.
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