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  China's Tiangong multi-module space station

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Author Topic:   China's Tiangong multi-module space station
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-29-2021 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China launches Tianhe core for new multi-module space station

China has launched the core component of its first multi-module space station, reaching a milestone almost 30 years in the making.

The "Tianhe" module lifted off atop a Chinese Long March 5B Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, located in the South China Sea, on Wednesday (April 28). The 11:23 p.m. EDT (0323 GMT; 11:23 a.m. local April 29) launch marked the first of at least ten missions planned through the end of 2022 to support the assembly of the Tiangong (or "Heavenly Palace") station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-29-2021 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China launches cargo spacecraft to dock with space station module

China launched the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 on Saturday (May 29), which is scheduled to dock with the space station core module Tianhe to deliver supplies, equipment and propellant.

The Long March-7 Y3 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-2, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

China launched its space station core module Tianhe on April 29. The country plans to complete the verification of key technologies and the in-orbit construction of the space station through multiple launches within two years.

Saturday's launch was the first time that the space station cargo transportation system, composed of the Tianzhou spacecraft and Long March-7 rockets, was put into use.

Measuring 10.6 meters in length and with a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship has a maximum takeoff weight of 13.5 tonnes and carries 6.8 tonnes of goods and materials.

More than 160 large and small packages, including supplies for astronauts and space science equipment, and two tonnes of propellant have been loaded into the cargo freighter, according to the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).

Lei Jianyu, a designer of Tianzhou-2 at the CAST, said that only two types of cargo spaceships currently in service globally have the maximum carrying capacity of more than 5 tonnes. "China's Tianzhou is one of them, and is at the world-leading level."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-29-2021 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China's cargo craft successfully docks with space station module

China's cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2, carrying supplies, equipment and propellant, successfully docked with the space station core module Tianhe on Sunday (May 30), according to the China Manned Space Agency.

At 5:01 a.m. (Beijing Time) [5:01 p.m. EDT or 2101 GMT May 29], Tianzhou-2 and Tianhe completed computer-orchestrated rendezvous and docking. The whole process took approximately eight hours, the CMSA said.

The Long March-7 Y3 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-2, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan at 8:55 p.m. (Beijing Time) Saturday.

Combined with Tianhe, Tianzhou-2 will replenish Tianhe's propellant. Tests on space application project equipment will also be carried out as planned.

China launched its space station core module Tianhe on April 29. The country plans to complete the verification of key technologies and the in-orbit construction of the space station through multiple launches within two years.

The launch of the cargo craft was the first time that the space station cargo transportation system, composed of the Tianzhou spacecraft and Long March-7 rockets, was put into use.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-20-2021 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China launches second cargo craft to space station with supplies

China launched its cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-3 on Monday (Sept. 20) to deliver supplies for its under-construction space station.

The Long March-7 Y4 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-3, blasted off at 3:10 p.m. Beijing time [3:10 a.m. EDT or 0710 GMT] from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

After 597 seconds, Tianzhou-3 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. At 3:22 p.m. Beijing time (3:22 a.m. EDT or 0722 GMT), the solar panels of Tianzhou-3 unfolded and began working properly.

The launch was a complete success, the CMSA said.

According to the CMSA, Tianzhou-3 will dock with the combination of the space station core module Tianhe and Tianzhou-2 cargo craft later.

The cargo ship carries nearly 6 tonnes of goods and materials, preparing for the upcoming launch of the Shenzhou-13 crewed mission.

The CMSA said Tianzhou-3 is loaded with living supplies for the astronauts, one extravehicular space suit for back-up, supplies for extravehicular activities, space station platform materials, payloads and propellants.

On Sept. 18, the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft separated from the rear docking port of Tianhe and docked with its front docking port. The CMSA said that the combination of Tianhe and Tianzhou-2 is in good condition, waiting for docking with the Tianzhou-3 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship.

Monday's launch is the 20th mission of China's manned space programs and the 389th mission of the Long March rocket series.

As the ancient Chinese said, to carry out an important task, supplies like rations and forage should go ahead of troops and horses. During the construction of the space station, cargo spaceships will always be launched ahead of crewed missions.

"We will transport support materials, necessary spare parts and equipment first, and then our crew," said CMSA Director Hao Chun.

Following the Tianzhou-3 mission, the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship will be launched to dock with the core module Tianhe, and three astronauts will then begin their six-month stay in orbit.

China plans to complete the verification of key technologies and the in-orbit construction of the space station through multiple launches within two years.

Five launch missions are planned for this year, namely the launch of the Tianhe core module, Tianzhou-2 cargo ship, Shenzhou-12 crewed mission, Tianzhou-3 cargo ship and the upcoming Shenzhou-13 crewed mission.

Six more missions will come in 2022, including the launch of the Wentian and Mengtian lab modules, two cargo spacecraft and two crewed spaceships, to complete the construction of the space station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-07-2022 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China completes in-orbit spacecraft transposition test with space station's robotic arm

China successfully conducted a transposition test of the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft using its space station's robotic arm Thursday morning (Jan. 6).

It was the first time that the robotic arm operated a large in-orbit spacecraft for a transfer test, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The test started at 6:12 a.m. (Beijing Time) and took 47 minutes.

After being unlocked and separated from the space station core module Tianhe, Tianzhou-2 was moved into a predetermined position by the robotic arm. The arm then reversed the maneuvers to bring the spacecraft back to its original position. Tianzhou-2 re-docked with the core module and completed locking.

The test preliminarily verified the feasibility of using the mechanical arm to conduct a space station module transfer, confirmed the effectiveness of relevant technologies, and laid a foundation for the subsequent in-orbit assembly and construction of the country's space station, said the CMSA.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-27-2022 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China's Tianzhou-2 cargo craft leaves space station core module

China's cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 separated from the core module of the country's space station Sunday afternoon (March 27), announced the China Manned Space Agency.

At 3:59 p.m. Beijing Time [3:59 a.m. EDT], Tianzhou-2 left the core module of the Tiangong space station after completing all of its scheduled tasks, said the agency.

During its operation in orbit, Tianzhou-2 carried out a series of extended application tests. It is now in good condition, and will enter the Earth's atmosphere at an appropriate time under ground control, the agency added.

Tianzhou-2 is the first cargo ship sent into space in the key-technology verification phase of China's space station.

Carrying 6.8 tonnes of supplies for the space station, it was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan on May 29, 2021.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-20-2022 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
Tianzhou-3 docks with Tianhe's front docking port

China's cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-3 separated from the country's space station core module Tianhe and redocked with the module on Wednesday (April 20).

Tianzhou-3 detached from the rear docking port of Tianhe at 5:02 a.m. Beijing Time [2100 GMT or 5:02 p.m. EDT on April 19], moved to the module's front port and completed a computer-orchestrated rendezvous and docking at 9:06 a.m. [0106 GMT or 9:06 p.m. EDT on April 19], according to the China Manned Space Agency.

It also said the combination of Tianhe and Tianzhou-3 is in good condition, waiting to dock with the Tianzhou-4 cargo craft, the Shenzhou-14 manned spaceship and the lab module Wentian.

China plans to complete the in-orbit construction of its space station by the end of 2022.

A total of six missions are planned for this year, including the launch of the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft in May, the Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft in June, the lab module Wentian in July, and the lab module Mengtian in October.

The three modules will form a T shape to complete the in-orbit construction of China's space station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48333
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2022 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua state news agency release
China launches Tianzhou-4 to space station

China launched cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-4 on Tuesday [May 10; 1:56 p.m. EDT or 1756 GMT on May 9] to deliver supplies for its space station, which is scheduled to wrap up construction this year.

The Long March-7 Y5 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-4, blasted off at 1:56 a.m. (Beijing Time) from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

After around 10 minutes, Tianzhou-4 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. At 2:23 a.m., the solar panels of the cargo craft unfolded and began working.

The CMSA declared the launch a complete success.

Like previous cargo flights, Tianzhou-4 carries three categories of supplies, including six-month living supplies for the Shenzhou-14 mission's three astronauts, spare parts for space station maintenance, and space research equipment.

Tianzhou-4 will dock with the combination of the space station core module Tianhe and Tianzhou-3 cargo craft later, the CMSA said.

(Tianzhou-4 docked with Tianhe about 6.5 hours after the cargo spacecraft lifted off.)

On April 20, Tianzhou-3 separated from the rear docking port of Tianhe and docked with its front docking port.

Tuesday's launch is the 22nd mission of China's manned space programs and the 420th mission of the Long March rocket series.

All times are CT (US)

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