- Apollon Bairaktaridis
Space Station Tiangong: A Permanent Chinese Outpost in Space from 2022 and Beyond
China is now the latest nation to send their own space station into orbit, as they enter the race to be the first to land a manned mission on Mars.
China is making their mark in the new space race of the 21st Century. Capability in space missions was the way that two global powers, the USA and USSR communicated their strength and their position of being a leading nation during the Cold War. This policy has once again gained popularity, since various nations are trying to present their progressive technologies and strength of will they possess. The race to Mars indicates that course as China, UAE and the USA all successfully launched their mission to the red planet. The progress they have through their missions can only be described as a historical moment.
China’s ambition did not limit itself to the research they are doing at the red planet. The other visionary project China pursued, became partially a reality. Tiangong will be the name of China’s new exclusive space station that will be ready in the year 2022. Tiangong, which means “heavenly palace”, started as a project in the 1990´s when the first plan of that vision was designed. The core module arrived recently in space with a weight over 22 tons and a distance of over 400 kilometers from Earth. Two more modules will follow the previous one before Tiangong can be defined as completed.
Two Chinese astronauts already experienced the first space walk outside the unfinished station. They worked in the external area of Tiangong to prepare the stay of the next astronauts that are going to follow the journey of their colleagues. The astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo were celebrated on Chinese television. It is also worth to note the astronauts were supported in their work through a robotic arm. Moreover, it is stated by the CNSA that the astronauts are equipped with a new space suit which creates the opportunity for a longer stay in the space.
CNSA also declared that the new space station will be kept alive through solar energy. It is also planned to cooperate internationally with other space agencies like the ESA. Tiangong is, as of now, only designed for three crew members.
With more and more nations launching space programs and beginning space missions, it seems that the traditional monopoly on space flights enjoyed by the United States, Western Europe and Russia is coming to a swift end, as countries such as China and India grow their own space programs.