CHINA: China will complete building the country’s space station in 2022 and has planned more than 40 launches for the year including manned flights.
The launches for the year include two Shenzhou crewed missions, two Tianzhou cargo spacecraft and the under-construction space station’s additional two modules, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday, citing a recent announcement by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
Other missions relating to the space station include in-orbital rendezvous and docking, extravehicular activities and spacecraft return, the CASC said, adding that the Long March-6A carrier rocket will also make its maiden flight in 2022.
In recent times, China has returned rock and soil samples to earth from the surface of the moon and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars; it also landed a craft on the far side of the moon in 2019.
Once built, China’s space station will be the only alternative to the two-decade-old, US-led International Space Station (ISS), which may be retired in 2024, Reuters news agency reported. Meanwhile, the under-construction space station has successfully moved a cargo spaceship with its giant robotic arm.
The 47-minute manoeuvre on Thursday morning was the first test for Tiangong’s 10-metre robotic arm. “The robotic arm attached to China’s space station successfully grabbed and moved the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship in a test on Thursday,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES