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China reveals the new space station "Heavenly Palace"



Crowds at Airshow China is gathering around the cylindrical module that represents living and working environments in Tiangong – or "Heavenly Palace" – a copy of its first permanent manned space station

Published 08:04, November 06, 2018

Updated 8:04, November 06, 2018

YUHANGYUANS. A model of a taikonaut is set on top of a partial model of Chinese space station at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai on November 6, 2018. Photo by Wang Zhao / AFP

YUHANGYUANS. A model of a taikonaut is set on top of a partial model of Chinese space station at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai on November 6, 2018. Photo by Wang Zhao / AFP

Zhuhai, China – China presented a copy of its first permanent manned space station on Tuesday, November 6, replacing the international community's groundbreaking laboratory, symbolizing the country's great ambitions beyond the ground.

The 17-meter core module was a star attraction at the two-year Airshow China in the southern coastal city of Zhuhai, the country's premier aerospace exhibition.

Outside, China's J-10 fighter aircraft and J-20 truffle fighters dropped spectators as they zoo over Zhuhi's sky. Back inside, the country showed its navy drones and other military hardware.

Crowds gathered around the cylindrical space station module representing living and working environments in Tiangong – or "Heavenly Palace" – which will also have two other modules for scientific experiments and will be equipped with solar panels.

Three astronauts will be permanently stationed in the 60-tonne circuit cover, allowing the crew to conduct biological and microwave research.

The assembly is expected to be completed in 2022 and the station would have a life span of approximately 10 years.

The International Space Station – a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan – has been in operation since 1998, but will retire in 2024.

China will then have the only space station in circulation, but it will be much smaller than ISS weighing 400 tonnes and is as big as a soccer field.

Billions spent

The country announced in May that the lab would be open to "all countries" to conduct scientific experiments.

"There is no doubt that China will use its station in the same way that ISS partners use its outpost: research, technology and as a step to deep exploration," said Chen Lan, an analyst at GoTaikonauts.com, a site dedicated to it Chinese space program.

Research institutes, universities and public and private companies have been invited to propose projects. Some 40 plans from 27 countries and regions have been received, according to state media.

The European Space Agency has sent astronauts to China to get training to be ready to work inside the Chinese space station when it is launched.

"I'm sure China will eventually succeed in developing partnerships," said Bill Ostrove, space analyst with US-based Forecast International consultant.

"Many countries, and increasingly private companies and universities, have space programs, but can not afford to build their own space station," he said.

"The possibility of charging and experimenting on a human space aerodrome is extremely valuable."

Beijing pouring billions into its military space program, with plans to send people to the moon in the near future.

US President Donald Trump has launched China as a threat, and has launched plans to create a new space force to dominate the country's rivals in space.

Various space market

But China's space program has encountered some glitches.

A space lab called Tiangong-1 was disintegrated when it retreated to the ground in early April two years after it ceased to function.

Chinese authorities denied that the lab – placed in circulation in September 2011 as a permanent station test station – was out of control.

A second lab, Tiangong-2, was launched in circulation in 2016.

"In spite of the opposite, the United States remains the dominant power in space right now," said Ostrove.

"The most likely scenario for the future is that China will appear as one of the major space forces," he said.

But Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and India will continue to play "major roles" in space exploration, while private companies are becoming increasingly important in the sector, Ostrove added.

"The space market is becoming increasingly varied," he said, "so it will be difficult for one or two countries or companies to dominate the field as US and Soviet Union did during the Cold War." – Rappler.com


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