Science 2 min read

First Module of the Chinese Space Station to be Launched Later this Year

In a major push towards space dominance, China announced that the first module of the Chinese Space Station will be launched later this year.

A photo taken of the Chinese Space Station's core module on display during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition last November 5th | Xinhua

A photo taken of the Chinese Space Station's core module on display during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition last November 5th | Xinhua

On February 4th, officials of China’s space agency announced the launch of a mission to kick off the construction of the future Chinese Space Station.

According to reports, Chinese space program authorities are now in the middle of recruiting and training astronauts. The drills and joint tests are scheduled to happen in late 2019.

State-run Xinhua News Agency also reported that the China Manned Space Engineering Office would be sending the core module of the CSS at Wenchang Space Launch Center, the official launch site of China, during the second half of this year. The move is part of the preparation for the space station’s list of missions.

Earlier announcements revealed that the CSS was initially slated to be launched in 2020 as a replacement for the soon to be decommissioned Tiangong-2 space laboratory.

Chinese astronauts photographed exiting a return module during training | Xinhua

The Chinese Space Station

Yesterday, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT) confirmed that it would soon begin testing its Long March-5B heavy-lift rocket. This core module of the CSS and primary payloads will be sent all together to the launch site during the second half of 2019.

While Tiangong-2 only had an orbiting lifespan of three years, the CSS is designed to last for at least ten. The station’s heavy-lift carrier, the Long March-5B, is also part of the Chinese space agency’s Dragon Series of rockets.

Called Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1), the heavy-lift rocket is specially developed to ferry crew in charge of building the CSS. However, the Chinese government also reportedly wants to enter the lucrative business of commercial rocket launches. Due to this, the Long March-5B will also be made available for paying private clients and companies.

CALVT further claimed that the yet-to-be-tested Long March-5B carrier rocket would make sending payloads and launching satellites into space cheaper and more affordable as compared to other private space agencies like SpaceX.

Also, CALVT said that their new rocket only takes six months to build and requires only 24 hours to prepare for launch missions.

Read More: China Unveils The Tiangong Space Station As Replacement Of The ISS

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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