Space: More pay­loads mulled for next sta­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS -

“Even if it drifted out of our de­tec­tion zone, Tian­gong-2 would en­ter a self-pi­lot mode that can guide it back into the zone, en­sur­ing the plat­form’s safety,” Zhu said. Sci­en­tists will also be mon­i­tor­ing more than 300 key data points and have de­vel­oped more than 300 fault coun­ter­mea­sures for Tian­gong-2, en­sur­ing the space lab can leave or­bit safely and un­der con­trol, he said.

Zhu said the suc­cess of Tian­gong-2 has laid a solid foun­da­tion for China’s fu­ture space sta­tion. “We will keep de­vel­op­ing space tech­nolo­gies and trans­form China into a space pow­er­house. These are our dreams.”

En­gi­neers also are busy build­ing the pro­to­types for main sys­tems on­board China’s first space sta­tion, and all de­vel­op­ment is go­ing ac­cord­ing to sched­ule, Lin said.

“The fu­ture space sta­tion will al­low space ap­pli­ca­tions and tests both within and out­side of its cabin,” Lin said. “The ap­pli­ca­tion pay­loads can also be changed in or­bit. It will carry 10 times more pay­loads than Tian­gong-2 just at the sta­tion’s ini­tial en­try into or­bit.”

Tian­gong-2 car­ries with it 14 ap­pli­ca­tion pay­loads, weigh­ing around 600 kilo­grams in to­tal. These pay­loads in­volve re­search rang­ing from par­ti­cle physics to ma­te­rial science to re­mote sens­ing tech­nolo­gies, ac­cord­ing to the space engi­neer­ing of­fice.

Lyu Cong­min, deputy chief en­gi­neer of the space ap­pli­ca­tions sys­tem for China’s manned space pro­gram, said the fu­ture space sta­tion will con­duct more than 30 types of re­search dur­ing its 10-year de­signed min­i­mum life span, with em­pha­sis on fron­tier science, space and life sciences.

The sta­tion’s in­te­rior will house 13 ex­per­i­ment racks, and the ex­te­rior will have room for in­stalling tele­scopes and other ma­jor equip­ment, he said. “Progress on these ap­pli­ca­tions is go­ing smoothly, ac­cord­ing to plan.”

Also, China’s manned space pro­gram is ex­pand­ing its global co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes to pro­mote global space tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment, Lin said. In May, China and the UN agency jointly in­vited other coun­tries to con­duct ex­per­i­ments on China’s fu­ture space sta­tion.

“The Chi­nese space sta­tion will help cre­ate glob­ally in­flu­en­tial sci­en­tific achieve­ments in ba­sic re­search, and con­trib­ute to hu­man­ity’s ex­plo­ration and un­der­stand­ing of the nat­u­ral world,” he said.

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