China launches key module of space station planned for 2022
BEIJING: China launched an unmanned module on Thursday containing living quarters for three crew on a permanent space station that it plans to complete by the end of 2022, state media reported.
The module, named “Tianhe”, or “Harmony of the Heavens”, was launched on the Long March 5B, China’s largest carrier rocket, at 11:23 a.m. (0323 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.
Tianhe is one of three main components of what would be China’s first self-developed space station, rivalling the only other station in service – the International Space Station (ISS).
The ISS is backed by major countries including the United States, Russia and Japan. China was barred from participating in the ISS by the United States.
Tianhe will form the main living quarters for three crew members in the Chinese space station, which will have a life span of at least 10 years.
The Tianhe launch was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the space station, which will orbit Earth at an altitude of 340 to 450 kilometres (211-280 miles).
In the later missions, China will launch the two other core modules, four manned spacecraft and four cargo spacecraft.
Work on the space station program started 10 years prior with the dispatch of a space lab Tiangong-1 of every 2011, and later, Tiangong-2 out of 2016.
Both assisted China with testing the program’s space meeting and docking capacities.
China has focused on space investigation as of late, determined to turn into a significant space power by 2030.
By 2045, it desires to build up a program working huge number of room flights a year and conveying a huge number of huge loads of payload and travelers.