New module of the Chinese space station arrives at the launch complex

The Wentian module of the Chinese Space Station has arrived at the Wenchang Launch Complex. Specialists will conduct all pre-launch tests and launch it into orbit using the Long March 5B heavy rocket.

Chinese space station after assembly. Source:

“Wentian” is preparing for launch

The new Wentian module for the Chinese Tiangong Space Station arrived at the Wenchang Engineering Office on May 29. It was built in the north of the country and delivered by sea to Hainan Province. Now specialists are conducting a pre-launch check of all systems. 

The launch is approximately scheduled for July 23. It is planned to implement it with the help of the Long March 5В heavy rocket, which plays a significant role in China’s large space plans. Its height is 53.4 meters, of which almost 18 are on the module. “Wentian” will be launched into an orbit with a height of 387 kilometers with an orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees. 

For the successful docking of the module with the main unit of the Tianhe station, the crew of the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft, consisting of three cosmonauts, should launch on the last one on June 4. They will wait for the launch in orbit and will perform other experiments planned by the flight program.

Long March 5B rocket is preparing for launch. Source: CMSA

What opportunities will the new module provide

The 22-ton “Wentian” is to become the second of three planned modules of the Chinese space station. In addition to extra space for living and experimenting, it will provide taikonauts with a number of new opportunities. 

Firstly, it is equipped with a small manipulator arm. Secondly, its design includes a new gateway that allows for spacewalks. Together, these two factors will give Chinese cosmonauts very broad opportunities to carry out engineering work outside the station.

Thirdly, “Wentian” is equipped with a large block of solar panels. They should provide the station with additional electricity and give more people the opportunity to work on it. The last should happen in December of this year, when the Shenzhou-14 crew members will join the Shenzhou-15.

However, even before that, the astronauts should check whether everything on the “Wentian” is working properly. With full success, the third module “Mengtian” should dock at the station in October. At this stage, the construction of the Chinese station will be completed, although there are ideas of expanding it for visiting space tourists.

According to

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