China is aiming to eclipse the new national launch record set last year, and complete the three-module space station with six related missions by 2022.
The China National Space Administration is preparing to launch two new space station modules, named Wentian and Mengtian, on separate Long March 5B rockets in the coming months.
The modules will be attached to the Tianhe core module, launching in April 2021, for a T-shaped finish. Tiangong space station before the end of the year.
Preparations for both missions are progressing well. The third Long March 5B rocket has completed final assembly and testing and will launch Wentian near the middle of this year. The fourth Long March 5B Y4 is in final assembly and will launch in Mengtian in the second half of 2022, according to to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).
The two modules weigh more than 44,100 pounds (20,000 kg) each and are designed primarily for holding science experiments. Wentian also has new jet-locking facilities for outdoor activities or spacewalks, and will add a second, smaller robotic arm to the space station.
A large robotic arm in the Galaxy will take and move new modules into place after they dock with Tianhe.
“Once the T-shaped structure is formed, we will test the full functionality and operation of the space station. We estimate that the space station will enter the operational phase by the end of the year.” Bai Linhou, space station. Deputy director of system design at China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told CCTV camera.
Wentian, or test module I, will serve as a backup of the Galactic core module to improve reliability and redundancy of the space station.
China will also launch two Tianzhou cargo spacecraft and two Shenzhou crewed missions as part of six space station missions planned for 2022.
Overall, China is planning to launch 140 spacecraft on more than 50 launches in 2022, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which owns CAST and CALT. CASC launched 48 Long March rockets in 2021.
Other notable missions include the second launch of Long March 8, without a booster booster, from Wenchang, and the first launch of Long March 6A. China’s commercial and private launch companies will also contribute to the rapid launch speed.
The end of 2022 is expected to see China’s first crew rotation when two spacecraft are put into orbit at the same time. Shenzhou 15 will launch and dock with Tianhe later this year, joining Shenzhou 14’s crew on board. This means that China will have six astronauts in orbit at the same time.
There’s also good news for the crew going on Shenzhou 13 Mission. Astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu will make the first “rapid” return to Earth at Shenzhou, meaning the crew will land just hours after unloading from the Galaxy, instead of spending 24 hours or more on their Shenzhou return capsule.
Shenzhou 13 was launched on March 2 long from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on October 16, 2021.
Assuming the Shenzhou 13 mission is safely completed, around March or April 2F Squadron March 14 will then launch Shenzhou 14, following delivery on the Tianzhou cargo spacecraft 4.
The 2F long March 15 will then be prepared at Jiuquan for an emergency wait. “The Y15 rocket is being tested for final assembly in the workshop, and it will be transported to the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Base for the launch mission once all the work is completed,” said Jing Manyun, a designer. main of Long March 2F, said CCTV.
https://www.space.com/china-will-complete-space-station-launch-record-2022 China aims to complete space station, break launch record by 2022