Hainan Island is located in the south of China. On June 25 the new space station which was built in one part of this island, a new Changchan-7 rocket, was launched.
China seeks to play a decisive role in the field of space exploration and develop a Chinese version of a space station called Tiangong.
This year should be a historic one for the program development of the Chinese space station. The Chinese Space Agency plans to launch a research orbital module Tiangong-2 in September. It will form the basis for the following modules.
The manned Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which will go into space in October, is set to dock with the module in orbit. Two astronauts will spend one month on the Tiangong-2.
China’s Tiangong space station involves the idea of allowing a manned spacecraft, as well as two research modules, to attach themselves to the main body of the station.
The station will be located at about 400 kilometers from Earth.
The station will always have three astronauts and the crew will be changed every six months. The crew will carry out scientific experiments and conduct other work.
Construction of Tiangong should be completed in 2022. It is assumed that the station will operate for ten years, but depending on the technical state, the lifetime can be increased. Thus, China will have at its disposal a space station which will be very similar to the International Space Station (ISS).
“We will develop international cooperation. We will provide an opportunity to all of countries in space research and will take in astronauts,” according to the representative of the manned space flight program Wu Ping at the session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes, held in mid-June in Vienna.
Wu Ping also reported that China has signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs for the development of international cooperation.
In this regard, Chinese Heritage Foundation specialist Dean Cheng warns that cooperation with China will have great risks. China has no experience in international cooperation in the field of space research. In addition, there are problems with the budget and transparency of the project.
Russia also is entertaining the idea of operating its own space station after 2024. As for the United States, with which Japan has to keep pace, its attention is currently focused on the program of a manned flight to Mars set to take place in 2030.
Currently, Japan is also considering the possibility of cooperation with China.
The main difference between Tiangong and the ISS is the fact that China’s space station is set to be two research modules. The development of new materials in microgravity and fundamental research will be the main mission of the space station. China is also ready to provide any country with the opportunity to conduct research.
On the other hand, the research by ISS is carried out by Japan, the US and other European countries. In the Japanese research module Kibo experiments are being conducted on high-quality protein crystallization to create medicinal drugs.
Also Tiangong can accommodate up to six people and Europe is interested in sending their astronauts.
On ISS there are six permanent employees. There are shifts of three astronauts who are then situated on the station long-term.