China successfully launched the core module of its space station on Thursday, giving humankind a new foothold in space.
The space station will become a common outpost for space-faring countries to explore the universe through cooperation. Tianhe, the name of the core module, means "Harmony of the Heavens" in Chinese, and it conveys China's sincere efforts to promote mutual trust and peace through international partnerships aboard the space station.
The universe is vast and its exploration will never end. As humankind has developed technologies to live and work in space, political bias and the cost of space exploration are holding some countries back from venturing into space. However, China sees its space dream as part of a dream for all humankind, and its space station as a common home in space for everyone. It remains committed to maintaining peace in outer space.
A white paper published in 2016 stated that China adheres to the principle of using outer space for peaceful purposes and opposes the weaponization of, or an arms race, in outer space.
Also, in 2016, China signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to offer its space-related technologies and experience to UN member states, in particular developing countries.
In 2018, China welcomed all UN member states to use the space station for activities ranging from growing plants to accommodating astronauts. The move demonstrates China's unwavering belief that outer space is a common resource for humankind.
In 2019, the China Manned Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs announced nine international projects selected for China's space station.
As some foreign space agencies have proposed cooperative initiatives, China is looking forward to seeing foreign astronauts participate in its space flight missions, and working and living on its space station in the future.
Well-structured international cooperation can lower the costs for individual nations' space programs, promote better international understanding and help build a peaceful future.
Space exploration gives us a better perspective on the challenges and problems on Earth. Research and development in space has helped significantly advance many technologies and realize some goals that initially appeared audacious. Through cooperation, China's space station is bound to become a scientific research platform shared by the world, benefiting all humankind.
Q&A: Getting to know China's space station
A core module of China's space station was launched into space on Thursday. The following questions and answers provide insight into China's new space venture.
Q1: What does the space station look like?
A: After completion by the end of 2022, China's space station will be a T shape with the core module at the center and a lab capsule on each side.
The space station has three ports where crewed or cargo spaceships and other visiting vehicles can dock.
Q2: What is the floorplan?
A: The total length of the core module is 16.6 meters, around the height of a five-story building. With a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters, it is more spacious than a train or subway carriage.
It will provide astronauts with six zones for work, sleep, sanitation, dining, healthcare and exercise.
Q3: How does the space station guarantee quality of life for the astronauts?
A: The station could support at most six astronauts at the same time. They will have their designated sleeping area and toilets.
Treadmills, spin bikes and resistance expanders provide a way for them to maintain their physical health.
The station will feature "smart home," technology where astronauts can remotely control the household appliances in the cabin through tablets, such as the refrigerator, water dispenser and microwave.
Ventilation is important for a comfortable indoor environment. To prevent astronauts from getting cold, the space station is designed to offer different wind speeds in sleeping and working areas. The wind speed in working areas is 0.08 meters per second and 0.05 in sleeping areas.
High levels of noise can be a problem for astronauts. The noise level in the working areas is 58 decibels and the 49 in the sleeping areas. The noise level for an ideal sleeping environment is 30 to 50 decibels.
Q4: What time zone do astronauts use at the Chinese space station?
A: Astronauts will work and rest according to Beijing time. It takes the space station 90 minutes to circle the earth, allowing the astronauts to see up to 16 sunrises and sunsets in 24 hours.
To keep their biological clock from being disrupted, the space station features a scene lighting system in the cabin, including a dusk and daytime mode.
Q5: Is there high-speed Wi-Fi on the space station?
A: The Wi-Fi signal will cover the cabin in its entirety.
A relay satellite undertakes the communication link between the space station and the ground. The data transmission rate from the core module to the ground is tens of times faster than the speed of 5G communication.
Q6: How will astronauts unpack, organize and tidy up the space station?
A: With the arrival of cargo spaceships in the future, the workload of unpacking, sorting, organizing and installation will be overwhelming.
Leaning from China's logistics giants, China's space station has a logistics management system. Astronauts can identify the location and product information of all items by scanning a QR code, and an inventory will be kept in real-time.
Meanwhile, the cabin goes entirely wireless inside with Wi-Fi data transmission, ensuring an orderly environment.
Q7: What will China do in the space station?
A: China aims to build the space station into a state-level space lab supporting extended stays of astronauts and large-scale scientific, technological and application experiments.
The station is also expected to contribute to the peaceful development and utilization of space resources through international cooperation, as well as to enrich technologies and experience for China's future explorations into deeper space.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Core capsule launched into orbit
Beijing (XNA) Apr 30, 2021
Sixty years after Yuri Gagarin undertook mankind's first space journey, China launched the core capsule of its space station on Thursday morning, formally embarking on the construction of one of the world's largest and most sophisticated space-based facilities. President Xi Jinping sent a letter after the launch, extending congratulations and greetings to those involved in the landmark mission. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman o ... read more