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In China's new space station



With the announcement of the China Space Station (CSS), a new orbital station for the 2020s, China has drawn world attention to international cooperation and experimentation with researchers around the world. In addition to this announcement, China also published an often overlooked manual detailing the architecture and operation of the CSS.

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Part of the content has leaked, but the nearly 30-page document is among the best information available on how CSS will look like and how it will work. In it, the Chinese Space Agency says the station will become "the most important scientific and technological laboratory in a near-Earth orbit".

Here is a brief insight into the design and operation of the CSS, which can be built by 2022. [1

9659005] China First

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First of all, the CSS will be smaller than the International Space Station. The document sets the total mass of CSS at about 66 tons "and can reach about 100 tons when docked with several manned spaceships and freight vehicles." It will accommodate three astronauts who can reach six residents. In comparison, the ISS has a mass of 460 tonnes and is considered fully occupied by six people.

The Chinese space station will be located at almost identical altitude to the ISS about 250 miles high. This is not surprising in view of the advantages of a near-Earth orbit, which include lighter deliveries from the planet and protection of the Earth's magnetic field from cosmic rays.

China's station, however, will have a different propensity. Slope means the angle at which a space object is located, measured at the equator, and is one of the factors that determine the shape of the orbit of a satellite. The tilt also says something about how a space station is operated. A National Research Council paper states:

"In practice, the orbital inclination of a space station can not be less than the width of the northernmost launch facility used to support the space station's assembly or logistics The amount of useful payload that can be delivered to a space station as orbit inclination increases.The maximum launch vehicle capacity is achieved when the orbital grade of the space station equals the width of the launch site. "

The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft with rocket propulsion starts on 17. October 2016 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at Jiuquan

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The ISS is at an inclination of 51.6 degrees, the lowest inclination, which the Russians can achieve with their Soyuz and Progress Rau msonde. The simpler the insertion, the more cargo the spacecraft can carry into orbit.

The CSS will have a grade of about 41 degrees. This is equivalent to the geographic latitude of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the Chinese spaceport, which will supply crew and cargo aboard the Long March CZ-2F launch system. Another Chinese spaceport in Wenchang will also launch rockets to the CSS. Although it is not an ideal latitude, the Wenchang spaceport is located on the coast and can handle payloads from seagoing vessels. In other words, the CSS will be optimized for launches from Chinese spaceports, while its bias would make life difficult for US and European launch providers.

A big T in space

Here's another difference to the ISS. The American method of building the International Space Station involved spacewalks to connect cables and pipelines. That will not happen with the CSS. With a method used by the Russian space program, the CSS modules are fully assembled when they get into orbit.

The three main module components of the CSS are horizontally symmetrical, but the station will be T-shaped. The core module of CSS is called Tianhe or "Harmony of the Sky". Here will be Shenzhou and Tianzhou spacecraft. (Sorry, Boeing and SpaceX – your delivery vehicles are unlikely to find a home here.) Inside the command module, CSS residents will be operating two robotic arms to fight spacecraft and payloads. "With the front end of the CM pointing in the direction of flight, the CM is used to control and manage the space station assembly and provide living space and work space for the astronauts," the document said.

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The core module of CSS is called Tianhe or "Harmony of the Heavens".

The remainder of the T-shape is made up of two experiment modules that support space exploration. They also seem to have room for crew quarters when the station is completed. "The EM I is able to control and control the space station and serves as a backup for some of the most important platform features of the CM," the document said. "It is the headquarters and emergency shelter of the astronauts and can support experiments onboard and out of space." The crew can enter space via an airlock, with these robotic arms available for outboard experiments and other extravehicular activities.

Science Mission

The Handbook lists a number of research priorities that are all familiar ways of space-based research. These include the effects of life in space, microfluidics, materials science, astronomy and microgravity physics. An interesting test chamber is dedicated to "Combustion Science", which will test new space motors.

As for this international cooperation that China announced this week, the document makes it clear that China will approve of all the experiments that come on board:

"International partners can only use experimental schemes such as experimental samples, experimental units or experimental samples Propose to design independently or in cooperation with the China Manned Space Agency and conduct experiments using the experimental facilities or exposed payloads already developed by China or by adding additional relevant facilities. "

The Chinese suggest a companion to the CSS nearby Having this "Optical Module System" put itself into orbit and moving in the same orbit as CSS. It will support "multicolor photometry, seamless spectrum acquisition and Earth observation with multifunctional optical capabilities." The manual says. "If necessary, it can dock with the CSS to perform refueling, equipment maintenance, payload upgrade equipment, and other maintenance activities."


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