China’s space program is making impressive progress. Country only introduced First group aircraft In 2003, more than 40 years of Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union Became the first man in space. Of China First Mars In 2020, the American Mariner 9 explored the red planet half a century later.
But the emerging Asian power is catching up fast: flying missions நிலா And Tuesday; Launching heavy-lift rockets; Creating something new Space telescope Set to fly in 2024; And, most recently, put The first piece Of Tiangang Space Station (name means Heavenly Palace) In orbit.
What is the Tiangong Space Station?
Tiangong The successor to China’s Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 space laboratories were launched in 2011 and 2016, respectively. It will be built in a modular design similar to the International Space Station operated by the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency. When completed, Tiangong will have a main block connected to two laboratories, which will weigh approximately 70 tons.
Central Capsule, Tianhe (The harmony of heaven), About the size of a bus. The center, which has life support and control systems, will be the station’s living quarters. At 22.5 tons, the Tianhe capsule is the largest and heaviest spacecraft ever built by China.
The capsule will be the center for future operations of the space station. By 2022, two smaller units are expected to join Tianhei to expand the space station and carry out various scientific and technical experiments. Eventually, the station will have 14 internal test racks and 50 external ports for space environment exploration.
It will be one-fifth of the Tianhe International Space Station and will cater to up to three crew members at a time. The first three “Dyconats” (mostly known as Chinese astronauts) are expected to live in June.
A complex launch
Tianhe was launched on a Long March 5B rocket on April 29 from Hainan Island, China.
These rockets have a central position and four boosters, each about 28 meters high – the height of a nine-story building – and more than 3 meters wide. The Long March 5B weighs about 850 tons when fully fueled and can lift up to 25 tons of payload into low Earth orbit.
During the launch of Tianhe, the rocket’s massive core – weighing about 20 tons – went out of control and crashed into the Indian Ocean for more than a week. The lack of a control system for the rocket to return to Earth has provoked criticism from the international community.
However, these rockets are a key component of China’s short-term ambitions in space. They are scheduled to deliver blocks and crews to Tiankang, as well as launch exploration missions to the moon and eventually to Mars.
Despite leaving a large space debris, Tianhe did it safely in orbit. One hour and 13 minutes after launch, its solar panels are up and running, and the module is up and running.
Completion and the future
Tianhe now sits in low Earth orbit (approximately 400 km from the ground), waiting for the first of ten delivery flights scheduled for the next 18 months, which will take Tiangong station to complete.
Ventian (a pair of test modules)The search for heaven) And Mengion (The dream of heaven) Is scheduled to launch in 2022. Although the station was built only by China, nine other countries have already signed up to conduct tests in Tiangong.
How to see the Tiangang Space Station
If you know where and when to look, Tianhe is already visible to the naked eye.
You can check websites like, to find out when the space station is visible from where you are n2yo.com, Which shows you the current location of the station and its projected route for the next 10 days. Keep in mind that these predictions are based on very rapidly changing models, because the space station is slowly falling into its orbit and occasionally elevating itself to greater heights.
The station orbits the earth every 91 minutes. Once you find the time of the next station in your location (at night – you can not see it during the day), check the direction it is coming from, find a dark spot from the bright lights, and look for a small, fast-moving light spark across the sky.