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China launches “Wentian,” second of its three space station modules

China launched the second of the three modules needed to complete its new space station. This was the most recent development in Beijing’s ambitious space programme. A Long March 5B rocket launched the unmanned spaceship with the call sign Wentian from the Wenchang launch facility on China’s tropical island of Hainan. A representative from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) confirmed the launch’s “success.”

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KEY POINTS:

  • In April 2021, Beijing launched the main module of the Tiangong space station, which is Chinese for “heavenly palace.”
  • The new module, which is over 18 metres (60 feet) long and 22 tonnes (48,500 pounds) in weight, features three sleeping rooms and room for scientific investigations.
  • It will join with the current module in space, a difficult procedure that will call for the utilisation of a robotic arm and multiple high-precision manipulations.
  • It will dock with the current module in space, a difficult procedure that will call for the utilisation of a robotic arm and multiple high-precision manipulations.
  • In the case of a failure, Wentian will also act as a backup platform for managing the space station.
  • Tiangong, which should have a lifespan of at least 10 years, is anticipated to be completely operational by the end of the year after the third and final module docks in October.

China’s Space Mission:

  • The country’s preparations for its widely publicised “space dream” have been intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • China has made significant progress in catching up to the United States and Russia, countries having astronauts and cosmonauts who have extensive space exploration expertise.
  • The CSS (Chinese Space Station) will be built in one and a half years, making it the fastest modular space station ever built.
  • China’s space programme has already dispatched probes to the Moon and Mars and landed a rover there.
  • Beijing also intends to construct a facility on the Moon and send people there by 2030 in addition to a space station.
  • Since the United States forbade NASA from cooperating with China, China has been barred from the International Space Station.
  • Beijing has stated that it is open to foreign collaboration even though China does not intend to use its space station for international cooperation on the same scale as the ISS.

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China launches "Wentian," second of its three space station modules_50.1
China launches "Wentian," second of its three space station modules_60.1

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