Update: Wentian docked to the Tianhe module of China’s Tiangong room station on Sunday (July 24) at 3:15 p.m. EDT (1913 GMT), according to a assertion (opens in new tab) from China’s area company.
China is set to add a new compartment to its space station pursuing the start of the Wentian module early on Sunday.
Wentian was despatched on its way to orbit atop a Very long March 5B major-elevate rocket that blasted off at 2:25 a.m. EDT (0625 GMT or 2:25 p.m Beijing time) on July 24 from the Wenchang spaceport on the southern island of Hainan. The 58.7-foot-prolonged (17.9 meters) module will soon match the orbit of Tianhe, China’s very first space station module, which released in April 2021. Wentian is expected to rendezvous and dock with a port connected to Tianhe afterwards on Sunday.
Wentian, which literally implies “quest for the heavens,” is the 2nd of a few modules planned for launch by China. A 3rd, named Mengtian, is scheduled to start in Oct and will total the T-formed Tiangong area station. Which includes a Shenzhou crew spacecraft and Tianzhou cargo vessel docked at the station, the concluded Tiangong will be around 20% as enormous as the Intercontinental House Station (ISS), which has a mass of about 460 tons.
Relevant: China’s Very long March rocket household: Record and photographs
A few astronauts of the Shenzhou 14 mission are presently aboard Tianhe awaiting the arrival of the new module. The trio will afterwards host a first dwell science lecture from Wentian in the in close proximity to potential, in accordance to Chinese point out media, next tests.
Wentian’s primary part is internet hosting a sequence of experiment cupboards that allow for astronauts to carry out a large range of science experiments in orbit it also carries solar arrays and a new airlock for spacewalks. In addition, it functions additional astronaut sleeping quarters to permit China to perform crew handovers for the duration of which six crew members briefly remain aboard Tiangong the first this sort of handover is expected to occur before the existing crew’s departure in December.
Although Wentian will start its stay at Tianhe’s ahead docking port, the major module’s 33-foot-extensive (10 m) robotic arm will be used to reposition Wentian to a aspect port at some time in the coming months. Before this calendar year, China analyzed the essential maneuvers employing Tianzhou 3, a cargo spacecraft that sent provides to the area station to guidance an previously crew mission. The spacecraft was launched days ago to make way for the arrival of Wentian.
Wentian also carries its possess 16.4-foot-extended (5 meters) robotic arm, which will be ready to function independently or connect with its larger Tianhe sibling arm.
China commenced its house station venture way back again in 1992, approving a plan to create the capacity to start astronauts into house, test lifetime aid aboard modest space labs, and establish new, substantial rockets capable of launching modules like the roughly 48,500 kilos (22,000 kilograms) Tianhe and Wentian modules.
The place options to continue to keep the Tiangong space station completely crewed for at the very least a ten years, with each individual crew of 3 astronauts paying out 6 months on board. China has also mentioned it will enable overseas astronauts and even space tourists to visit the orbital outpost in the upcoming, even though also hosting global experiments, the 1st of which have already been chosen.
The area station will also aid a powerful study house telescope named Xuntian that China ideas to launch close to 2024. The Hubble-course observatory will work in a very similar orbit to that of Tiangong, indicating it will be ready to dock at the station for refueling, upgrades and repairs.
Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.