China’s space station received 2nd of three modules

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China’s space station received 2nd of three modules

Robert Besser
29 Jul 2022, 07:39 GMT+10

  • In one of the final missions needed to complete its permanent space station by the end of the year, this week China launched the second of three modules for the structure
  • State media outlet CCTV broadcast a live feed showing the 23-tonne Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) laboratory module launching atop China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B
  • Space agency staff in the control room were seen cheering and applauding when the Wentian separated from the rocket about 10 minutes after the launch

BEIJING, China: In one of the final missions needed to complete its permanent space station by the end of the year, this week China launched the second of three modules for the structure.

State media outlet CCTV broadcast a live feed showing the 23-tonne Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) laboratory module launching atop China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan.

Space agency staff in the control room were seen cheering and applauding when the Wentian separated from the rocket about 10 minutes after the launch.

CCTV reported the launch as a “complete success.”

Measuring 17.9 meters long, the Wentian lab module will be where astronauts carry out scientific experiments, along with another lab module expected to be launched in October, the Mengtian (“Dreaming of the Heavens”).

Wentian has an airlock cabin, which will act as the main exit-entry point for extravehicular activities when the station is completed, and while designed for long-term accommodation for just three astronauts, it will also serve as short-term living quarters for additional astronauts during crew rotations on the station.

About one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station, the station has become a source of pride for the Chinese people and will mark President Xi Jinping’s 10 years as leader of China’s ruling Communist Party.

On board the space station are Shenzhou-14 mission commander Chen Dong, along with Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe, who are due to return to Earth in December with the arrival of the Shenzhou-15 crew.

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