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Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

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Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#1 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:17 pm

'Divine Vessel' to mark China's first human spaceflight since 2016
Shenzhou-12 will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China's space station by 2022.


https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/d ... 6-rcna1185

A Chinese spacecraft will blast off from the Gobi Desert on a Long March rocket in the coming days, ferrying three men to an orbiting space module for a three-month stay, the first time China has sent humans into space for nearly five years.

Shenzhou-12, meaning "Divine Vessel", will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China's space station by 2022. Among them, four will be missions with people on board, potentially propelling up to 12 Chinese astronauts into space — more than the 11 men and women that China has sent since 2003.

The craft will also carry into space the hopes of some in Earth's most populous nation.

"The motherland is powerful," one person wrote on Chinese social media, which has lit up with well-wishes for the Shenzhou-12 crew. "The launch is a gift to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party."

Chinese astronauts have had a relatively low international profile. A U.S. law banning NASA from any connection with China means its astronauts have not been to the more than two-decade-old International Space Station, visited by more than 240 men and women of various nationalities.

China, which aims to become a major spacefaring power by 2030, in May became the second country to put a rover on Mars, two years after landing the first spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

It also plans to put astronauts on the moon — the farthest celestial body that humans have travelled to.

The Shenzhou-12 crew is to live on the Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens", a cylinder 16.6 metres (55 feet) long and 4.2 metres (14 feet) in diameter.

The planned three-month stay would break the country's record of 30 days, set by the 2016 mission — China's last crewed flight — of Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng to a prototype station.

Three men from China's first and second batches of astronauts will be on this mission, Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office and China's first astronaut, told state tabloid Global Times last month.

China's space bloggers speculate they will be Nie Haisheng — who at 56 would be China's oldest astronaut sent into space — Deng Qingming, 55, and Ye Guangfu, 40.

The authorities typically do not announce a mission's crew until near or after the launch. China Manned Space did not respond to a Reuters fax request for comment.

The oldest human in space was John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle at age 77 in 1998 — after having been the first American to orbit the earth in 1962, a U.S. senator and a presidential candidate.

While no women are scheduled for the Shenzhou-12 mission, they are expected to participate in every following mission, Yang told Global Times.

Two women, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping, were selected in 2011 among China's second cohort, after the first batch of 14 men in the mid-1990s. Liu was China's first woman in space in 2012, while Wang was the youngest, at 33, in 2013.

China began building its space station in April with the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of its three modules. This year it aims to send a robotic cargo resupply spacecraft and three more astronauts, this time for a six-month stay.

Reuters

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#2 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:46 am

'Divine Vessel' rocket launches China's first human spaceflight since 2016

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/divi ... 6-n1271070

'Divine Vessel' rocket launches China's first human spaceflight since 2016
“We have invested so much energy,” said Rong Yi, the rocket’s chief designer. “But I am thrilled to see it fulfill its duty within 10 minutes.”

JIUQUAN, China — A Chinese rocket blasted off from a launch pad in the Gobi Desert on Thursday, sending three astronauts on a historic mission to an orbiting space station China is building.

Fire and huge clouds of dust could be seen in the distance when the Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-12 capsule roared away from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, as China’s space race with the United States and Russia continues to gather pace.

It was the first time in five years that China has sent humans into space.

For Rong Yi, the rocket’s chief designer, it was hard to see it go.

“We have invested so much energy,” she told NBC News, likening the rocket to raising a child. “But I am thrilled to see it fulfill its duty within 10 minutes.”

Shenzhou-12, or “Divine Vessel," is one of 11 planned missions to complete construction of China’s 70-ton Tiangong or Harmony of the Heavens space station that is set to be up and running by next year.

The astronauts will remain docked with the main Tianhe section of the station for three months — China’s longest crewed mission yet — to perform spacewalks, maintenance work and critical testing of life support and other systems.

“I believe that in the near future, when the Chinese space station is complete, we will see Chinese and foreign astronauts taking on joint missions,” China Manned Space Agency Assistant Director Ji Qiming said at a news conference Wednesday ahead of the launch.

“Exploring the vast universe, developing space activities and building a powerful space nation is our unremitting space dream,” he said.

China has long been frozen out of the International Space Station, or ISS, a project launched 20 years ago that has served as the ultimate expression of post-Cold War reconciliation between Russia and the United States. American concerns over the Chinese space program’s secrecy and connections to its military were largely responsible for that.

But the aging ISS that hosted astronauts from the U.S., Russia and a number of other countries is set to be decommissioned after 2024. As broader U.S.-Russia relations deteriorate, Moscow has hinted that it may withdraw from ISS cooperation in 2025, meaning China could be the only country with a functioning space station.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, also signed an agreement in March with the Chinese National Space Administration to build a base on or around the Moon, which they will call the International Scientific Lunar Station.

“All the firsts that the U.S. and the USSR did in the Cold War, China is just ticking them off,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “Now they’re at the point where they’re starting to think, ‘OK, we’re not just copying the West anymore, we’re going to start doing our own thing’. And that’s going to be very interesting to watch.”

Ahead of the launch, the Chinese astronauts met Wednesday with reporters from inside a glass chamber to ensure they remained germ-free.

Veteran Nie Haisheng, 56, was looking forward to his third trip to space, while Liu Boming, 54, took part in a 2011 mission that included China’s first spacewalk.

They were joined by 40-year-old Tang Hongbo, who was looking forward to his first journey up to the stars, having been selected for training in 2010.

“There is pressure,” he said. “But where there is pressure there is motivation.” He added that he had “confidence in myself and confidence in our team.”


After Tianhe's main module was successfully launched last month, state media reported that President Xi Jinping wrote a letter to congratulate Chinese engineers for a breakthrough that earned a place in the nation’s history.

However, China’s government was forced to defend itself after NASA and others accused Beijing of acting recklessly by allowing a rocket booster from that mission to fall to Earth in a seemingly uncontrolled manner.

Wednesday’s launch was covered on state television and celebrated as a matter of prestige ahead of the Communist Party’s 100th anniversary next month.

For Xi, the space station holds symbolic value in his vision of his country as “a space power in all respects.”

But as China pours billions of dollars into its space programs, including an exploration of the dark side of the moon and its recent landing of a rover on Mars, some analysts fear that its lack of international coordination is creating a dangerously competitive playing field in space.

“Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership,” according to the annual threat assessment published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Zhou Jianping, the chief designer at China’s Manned Space Agency, sees it differently.

“There is no doubt the U.S. is the most advanced,” he told NBC News near the launch site, “Regardless of scale, China develops space programs out of our country’s own need … to fulfil our own dream.”

Janis Mackey Frayer is a Beijing-based correspondent for NBC News.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#3 Post by Boac » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:31 am

Any news on the re-entry of the first stage?

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#4 Post by Boac » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:22 am

Docked already!! That was n-quick.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#5 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:06 pm

6 hours transit.

Chinese astronauts enter new space station on 3-month mission
Three Chinese astronauts arrived Thursday at China's new space station at the start of a three-month mission, marking another milestone in the country’s ambitious space program.

Their Shenzhou-12 craft connected with the space station module about six hours after taking off from the Jiuquan launch center on the edge of the Gobi Desert.

About three hours later, commander Nie Haisheng, 56, followed by Liu Boming, 54, and space rookie Tang Hongbo, 45, opened the hatches and floated into the Tianhe-1 core living module. Pictures showed them busy at work unpacking equipment.

"This represents the first time Chinese have entered their own space station," state broadcaster CCTV said on its nightly news broadcast.

China Launches Astronauts To Space Station
JIUQUAN, CHINA - JUNE 17: The manned Shenzhou-12 spacecraft from China's Manned Space Agency onboard the Long March-2F rocket launches with three Chinese astronauts onboard at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 17, 2021, in Jiuquan, Gansu pr
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The crew will carry out experiments, test equipment, conduct maintenance and prepare the station for receiving two laboratory modules next year. The mission brings to 14 the number of astronauts China has launched into space since 2003, becoming only the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to do so on its own.

All appears to have gone smoothly so far. China's leaders hope the mission will be a complete success as the ruling Communist Party prepares to celebrate the centenary of its founding next month.

The astronauts were seen off by space officials, other uniformed military personnel and a crowd of children waving flowers and flags and singing patriotic songs before blasting off at 9:22 a.m (0122 GMT) atop a Long March-2F Y12 rocket.

The rocket dropped its boosters about two minutes into the flight followed by the cowling surrounding Shenzhou-12. After about 10 minutes it separated from the rocket's upper section, extended its solar panels and shortly afterward entered orbit.

About a half-dozen adjustments took place over the following six hours to line up the spaceship for docking with the Tianhe-1, or Heavenly Harmony, module at about 4 p.m. (0800 GMT).

The travel time is down from the two days it took to reach China's earlier experimental space stations, a result of a "great many breakthroughs and innovations," the mission’s deputy chief designer, Gao Xu, told state broadcaster CCTV.

"So the astronauts can have a good rest in space which should make them less tired," Gao said.

RELATED: China Mars rover beams back spectacular images from red planet

Other improvements include an increase in the number of automated and remote-controlled systems that should "significantly lessen the pressure on the astronauts," Gao said.

Two astronauts on those past missions were women, and while this first station crew is all male, women are expected to be part of future station crews.

The mission is the third of 11 planned through next year to add the additional sections to the station and send up crews and supplies. A fresh three-member crew and a cargo ship with supplies will be sent in three months.

China is not a participant in the International Space Station, largely as a result of U.S. objections to the Chinese program's secrecy and close military ties. However, China has been stepping up cooperation with Russia and a host of other countries, and its station may continue operating beyond the International Space Station, which is reaching the end of its functional life.

China landed a probe on Mars last month that carried a rover, the Zhurong, and earlier landed a probe and rover on the moon's less explored far side and brought back the first lunar samples by any country’s space program since the 1970s.

China and Russia this week also unveiled an ambitious plan for a joint International Lunar Research Station running through 2036. That could compete and possibly conflict with the multinational Artemis Accords, a blueprint for space cooperation that supports NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon by 2024 and to launch an historic human mission to Mars.

After the Tianhe-1 was launched in April, the rocket that carried it into space made an uncontrolled reentry to Earth, though China dismissed criticism of the potential safety hazard. Usually, discarded rocket stages reenter the atmosphere soon after liftoff, normally over water, and don’t go into orbit.

The rocket used Thursday is of a different type and the components that will reenter are expected to burn up long before they could be a danger, said Ji Qiming, assistant director of the China Manned Space Agency.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#6 Post by Boac » Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:19 pm

It might appear that the re-entry hasn't quite been sorted yet...

E4QFmAUXwAE97Au.jpg

Reported as one of the boosters! To quote a previous poster - 'Peking Duck'.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#7 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:35 pm

"Harmony of the Heavens" maybe but not "Harmony of the Earth". :-o [-X :ymdevil:

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#8 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:18 pm

China launches 6-month crewed mission as it cements position as global space power

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/15/china/ch ... index.html

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China (CNN)China launched a three-person crew into space in the early hours of Saturday -- a major step for the country's young space program, which is rapidly becoming one of the world's most advanced.

The three astronauts lifted off on the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft just past midnight local time, launched by a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, located in Inner Mongolia.
They will dock at China's new space station, Tiangong (which means Heavenly Palace), six and a half hours after launch. They will live and work at the station for 183 days, or just about six months -- the country's longest mission yet.
The crew includes Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guanfu, who will spend the time testing the station's technology and conducting spacewalks.
Zhai, the mission commander, performed China's first spacewalk in 2008 and has been awarded the honorary title of "Space Hero" by the government.
This will be Ye's first mission in space; he is currently a second-level astronaut in the military's Astronaut Brigade.
Wang, who also received an honorary title after participating in a 2013 mission, will be China's first female astronaut on board the space station -- and the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk.

Six months is the standard mission duration for many countries -- but it will be an important opportunity for Chinese astronauts to become accustomed to a long-term stay in space and help prepare future astronauts to do the same.
"In the first place, any crewed mission is significant, if only because space travel by humans remains a risky endeavor," said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. "This will certainly be their longest mission, which is quite impressive when you consider how early it is in their human spaceflight regimen."
This is the second crewed mission during the construction of the space station, which China plans to have fully crewed and operational by December 2022. The first crewed mission, a three-month stay by three other astronauts, was completed last month.

Six more missions have been scheduled before the end of next year, including two crewed missions, two laboratory modules and two cargo missions.
"For the Chinese, this is still early in their human spaceflight effort as they've been doing this for less than 20 years ... and for fewer than 10 missions," Cheng added. "In the past, the Chinese put up a crewed flight only once every two to three years. Now, they're sending them up every few months."
"If the Chinese maintain this pace ... it reflects a major shift in the mission tempo for their human spaceflight efforts."
Lead-up to liftoff
CNN gained rare access to the launch this week, including a series of highly choreographed events and news conferences in the lead-up to Saturday.
The launch site looks as if it's been dropped into the Gobi Desert in the middle of nowhere, hours away from the city, surrounded by barren brown plains of sand and rock. There is only one road cutting through the middle of the desert, then a swath of nothingness around it, only some low mountains in the distance.
The road near the site was littered with signs warning that it was a military area where no unauthorized entry was allowed. The country's crewed space program is overseen by a military body, and many of the launch sites and satellites are run directly by the People's Liberation Army.
Arriving at the launch center was like entering a miniature city, complete with sprawling roads, dormitories and stadiums. One billboard was plastered with the image of President Xi Jinping, next to the words "Chinese dream, space dream."
China's space program was late to the game, only established in the early 1970s, years after American astronaut Neil Armstrong had already landed on the moon. But the chaos of China's Cultural Revolution stopped the nation's space effort in its tracks -- and progress was postponed until the early 1990s.
Space administrators picked two classes of astronauts in 1998 and 2010, laying the path for a rapid acceleration in space missions. Aided by the economic reforms of the 1980s, China's space program quietly progressed until the launch of the first crewed mission in 2003.
The government has since invested billions of dollars into the space program -- and the payoff has been evident. China successfully landed an exploratory rover on the moon last December and one on Mars in May. The first module of the Tiangong space station launched in April. Just last week, an international team of scientists released their findings from the moon rocks China brought back to Earth.
"What is truly impressive about China's space program is how rapidly it has advanced, on all major fronts, from a pretty low base as recently as the 1990s," said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College.
"The European Space Agency, Russia, India, and Israel have suffered Moon or Mars probe failures in recent years; China succeeded with both on the first tries," Burbach told CNN via email. Though the US still has the world's leading space program, he said, "there's no doubt that China is the world's Number 2 space power today."
China's ambitions span years into the future, with grand plans for space exploration, research and commercialization. One of the biggest ventures will be building a joint China-Russia research station on the moon's south pole by 2035 -- a facility that will be open to international participation.
Politics in space
Even in space, there's no escaping Earth's politics.
Chinese astronauts have long been locked out of the International Space Station due to US political objections and legislative restrictions -- which is why it has been a long-standing goal of China's to build a station of its own.
As China's space program expanded, some countries like Russia have reached out to collaborate -- but others remain wary. It's not clear, for instance, whether the European Union will cooperate with China in space -- especially as skepticism in Europe about China grows after several recent diplomatic spats and controversies over politics and human rights, Cheng said.
The US, meanwhile, continues to stand separate. It's not a complete ban on interaction, Cheng said -- for instance, American and Chinese scientists can chat at international conferences -- but the 2011 Wolf Amendment effectively shuts the door on true bilateral cooperation in space by prohibiting NASA from spending any money on interactions with China.
One reason space research cannot be divorced from terrestrial politics, and why the issue is so complicated, is because "the Chinese space program is heavily influenced, and its human and lunar programs are overseen, by the Chinese military," Cheng said. "Cooperating with China in space means cooperating with the Chinese military."

But Burbach, the professor, said the division between the countries "goes too far," potentially blocking precious scientific progress.
"As things stand, US and Chinese scientists won't even be able to trade samples of Moon rocks, which the US and Soviets did do during the Cold War," Burbach wrote in an email.
Although he said the chill is "understandable" given the deteriorating US-China relationship, Burbach added that "many American allies are willing to engage with China on space exploration, and the US probably does not gain much from taking such a hard line."
China might not need American assistance at this point. Already, China is significantly ahead of Europe, and catching up fast with the US, he said.

"The development of China's manned spaceflight is based on our own plan. We have our strategy and our plan," said Lin Xiqiang, Deputy Director General of the China Manned Space Agency. "We didn't think about comparing with others."
And though it has been excluded from the ISS, China's space station might one day be the main one in operation, since NASA could retire the ISS by 2030.
If the US is "unable or unwilling to maintain a human presence in space," China could gain an advantage and pull ahead, Cheng said.
That leaves a gap for China to fill -- and even if the ISS remains open, the Tiangong space station could become a major rival. China will likely allow foreign astronauts from different countries to stay on the station and conduct experiments -- increasing their "international prestige and diplomacy, just like the US," Burbach said.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#9 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:24 pm

China's new space station gets its first female astronaut

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/15/china/sp ... index.html

Hong Kong (CNN)The first woman assigned to work on China's new space station will be aboard when the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft blasts off early Saturday local time, in what's set to be a landmark moment for female astronauts and the country's rapidly expanding space program.

Wang Yaping, 41, is part of a three-member team heading for the Tiangong -- or Heavenly Palace -- space station, where she is expected to become the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk.
China's aim to complete the station and have it fully crewed by December 2022 is an ambitious target but it appears to be on course. Last month, three other Chinese astronauts successfully completed a three-month stay on board, during which they worked on the station's core module and conducted two spacewalks to install equipment.
This time, Wang's team will stay for 183 days -- the longest stint in space by Chinese astronauts. She will be accompanied by mission commander Zhai Zhigang, 55, and Ye Guangfu, 41.
Their spacecraft is scheduled to take off from the Gobi Desert in northwest China at 12:23 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday (12:23 p.m. ET Friday), the China Manned Space Program said Thursday.
Preparations for their stay have been long in the making. Last month, a cargo vessel delivered 6 metric tons of food, water, oxygen bottles, spacesuits and other necessities to the station.
It will be Wang's second space mission. A major in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force and a transport plane pilot, she was recruited as an aspiring astronaut in 2010.
In 2013, she spent 15 days in orbit with the Shenzhou-10 mission. From a trial space station module, she gave a science lecture to 60 million students across China -- showing them surface tension of liquids in space, conducting kung fu moves and answering questions.
In an interview with CNN in 2015, Wang recounted the first moment she looked down on Earth from space.
"When I looked out of the window for the first time, I realized the true meaning of the power of life... that kind of beauty was just beyond comprehension," she said.
According to Wang, a manned space program without female astronauts would be incomplete.
"It is like a woman's role in the family. Women have responsibilities. We also make serious missions more lively and pleasant," she said.
And female crew members bring a practical benefit too, Wang added. "We women astronauts weigh less (than men, and) that's more economical to the mission."

Wang is China's second woman in space, after fellow astronaut Liu Yang. In 2012, Liu made history by joining a three-person crew on the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft -- a milestone celebrated by women across China.
Liu's space mission came 49 years to the day after the Soviet Union put Valentina Tereshkova into space -- making her the world's first female astronaut in outer space.
Female astronauts have come a long way since Tereshkova made that first trip. According to NASA, as of March this year, 65 women have flown in space, including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists and space station participants.
In 1983, astronaut and physicist Sally Ride became the first American women in space -- but back then, the male-dominated space industry appeared to be pretty clueless about women's needs.
As Ride prepared for her trip on the Space Shuttle STS-7, NASA engineers famously asked her how many tampons she might need for a week in orbit.
"Is 100 the right number?" Ride recalled them asking, according to the transcript of a 2012 NASA oral history project.
In a terse reply, she suggested they halve that estimate.
Varsha Jain, gynecologist and researcher at Kings College London, previously told CNN that while most systems in the human body are heavily affected during spaceflight, the female menstrual cycle doesn't seem to change at all.
Her research found that most female astronauts opt to use contraceptives and put their periods on hold, both in preparation for and during spaceflight.
For missions that last a few weeks, astronauts are able to use oral contraceptives to time their cycles accordingly. But Jain said no research has been done on long-term use of contraceptives in space, for missions that last for months or even years.
According to Chinese state media, among the supplies sent to the Tiangong space station were 60 bottles of toner, 30 bottles of serum and 30 bottles of face cream, as well as feminine hygiene products -- all specially prepared for Wang.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#10 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:20 pm

Chinese crew arrives at new space station for historic six-month mission
China’s military-run space program plans to send multiple crews to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/chin ... n-rcna3134

Oct. 16, 2021, 12:58 AM MST / Updated Oct. 16, 2021, 2:05 AM MST
By Associated Press
BEIJING — Three astronauts entered China’s space station for a six-month mission, setting to work Saturday after successfully docking aboard their Shenzhou-13 spacecraft.

The astronauts, two men and a woman, were seen floating around the module before speaking via a live-streamed video. They pledged to do their best in carrying out their missions as the country moves toward completing the new orbiting outpost.

The spacecraft was launched by a Long March-2F rocket late Friday and docked with the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station approximately six and a half hours later.


Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete the space station by the end of 2022.Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
They are the second crew to move into the space station, which was launched last April. The first crew stayed three months. It will be China’s longest crewed space mission, a new milestone for a program that has advanced rapidly in recent years.

The new crew includes two veterans of space travel. Zhai Zhigang, 55, and Wang Yaping, 41, and Ye Guangfu, 41, who is making his first trip to space.

“We’ll co-operate with each other, carefully conduct maneuvers, and try to accomplish all tasks successfully in this round of exploration of the universe,” said Wang in the video.

Wang is the first Chinese woman to board the Tiangong space station, and is also expected to become China’s first female spacewalker.

They were seen off by a military band and supporters singing “Ode to the Motherland,” underscoring the weight of national pride invested in the space program, which has advanced rapidly in recent years.

The crew will do three spacewalks to install equipment in preparation for expanding the station; assess living conditions in the Tianhe module and conduct experiments in space medicine and other fields.

China’s military-run space program plans to send multiple crews to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional.

When completed with the addition of two more sections — named Mengtian and Wentian — the station will weigh about 66 tons, much smaller than the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 450 tons.

Two more Chinese modules are due to be launched before the end of next year during the stay of the yet-to-be-named Shenzhou-14 crew.

After a grand ceremony, the crew blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China.Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday renewed its commitment to cooperation with other nations in the peaceful use of space.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said sending humans into space was a “common cause of mankind.” China would “continue to extend the depth and breadth of international cooperation and exchanges” in crewed spaceflight and “make positive contributions to the exploration of the mysteries of the universe,” he said.

China was excluded from the International Space Station largely due to U.S. objections over the Chinese program’s secretive nature and close military ties, prompting it to launch two experimental modules before starting on the permanent station.

U.S. law requires congressional approval for contact between the American and Chinese space programs, but China is cooperating with space experts from other countries including France, Sweden, Russia and Italy. Chinese officials have said they look forward to hosting astronauts from other countries aboard the space station once it becomes fully functional.

China has launched seven crewed missions with a total of 14 astronauts aboard — two have flown twice — since 2003, when it became only the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to put a person in space on its own.

China has also expanded its work on lunar and Mars exploration, including landing a rover on the little-explored far side of the Moon and returning lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

This year, China also landed its Tianwen-1 space probe on Mars, whose accompanying Zhurong rover has been exploring for evidence of life on the red planet.

Other Chinese space programs call for collecting soil from an asteroid and bringing back additional lunar samples. China has also expressed an aspiration to land people on the moon and possibly build a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such projects. A highly secretive space plane is also reportedly under development.


I came across a useful website while researching Tianhe.

Heavens Above
:-bd

https://www.heavens-above.com/?lat=0&ln ... 0&tz=UCTPP

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#11 Post by Boac » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:32 pm

It is noticeable how 'quickly' the Chinese get to dock after launch cf NASA.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#12 Post by llondel » Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:21 pm

Boac wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:32 pm
It is noticeable how 'quickly' the Chinese get to dock after launch cf NASA.
It can be done faster, but it's easier to do it in a slower manner.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#13 Post by bob2s » Thu Oct 21, 2021 9:26 pm

Boac wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:32 pm
It is noticeable how 'quickly' the Chinese get to dock after launch cf NASA.
They are perhaps worried about the longevity of the capsule seeing it was made in China. =))

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#14 Post by PHXPhlyer » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:43 pm

Chinese astronauts land after 6 months on space station
The Shenzhou 13 space capsule landed in the Gobi desert in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, shown live on state TV.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/chin ... -rcna24672

BEIJING — Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after six months aboard their country’s newest orbital station in the longest crewed mission to date for China’s ambitious space program.

The Shenzhou 13 space capsule landed in the Gobi desert in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, shown live on state TV.

During the mission, astronaut Wang Yaping carried out the first spacewalk by a Chinese woman. Wang and crewmates Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu beamed back physics lessons for high school students.

China launched its first astronaut into space in 2003 and landed robot rovers on the moon in 2013 and on Mars last year. Officials have discussed a possible crewed mission to the moon.

On Saturday, state TV showed images from inside the capsule as it traveled at 200 meters per second over Africa before entering the atmosphere.

The trio were the second crew aboard Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace. Its core module, Tianhe, was launched in April 2021. Plans call for completing construction this year by adding two more modules.

Authorities have yet to announce a date for launching the next Tiangong crew.

China is excluded from the International Space Station due to U.S. unease that its space program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army.

China was the third nation to launch an astronaut into space on its own after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Tiangong is China’s third space station following predecessors launched in 2011 and 2016.

The government announced in 2020 that China’s first reusable spacecraft had landed following a test flight but no photos or details of the vehicle have been released.

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping visited the launch site in Wenchang on the southern island of Hainan from which the Tianhe module was fired into orbit.

“Persist in pursuing the frontiers of world aerospace development and the major strategic needs of national aerospace,” Xi told staff at the site, all of them in military uniform.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#15 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sat Jun 04, 2022 3:11 pm

China plans to complete space station with latest mission
The Shenzhou 14 crew will spend six months on the Tiangong station.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/china-tian ... -rcna31967

China is preparing to launch a new three-person mission to complete work on its permanent orbiting space station, the country’s China Manned Space Agency said Saturday.

The Shenzhou 14 crew will spend six months on the Tiangong station, during which they will oversee the addition of two laboratory modules to join the main Tianhe living space that was launched in April 2021.

Their spaceship is due to blast off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert on Sunday morning the agency said.

Commander Chen Dong and fellow astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe will assemble the three-module structure joining the existing Tianhe with Wentian and Mengtian, due to arrive in July and October. Another cargo craft, the Tianzhou-3, remains docked with the station.

China’s space program launched its first astronaut into orbit in 2003, making China only the third country to do so on its own after the former Soviet Union and the U.S.

It has landed robot rovers on the moon and placed one on Mars last year. China has also returned lunar samples and officials have discussed a possible crewed mission to the moon.

China’s space program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, prompting the U.S. to exclude it from the International Space Station.

Chen, Liu and Cai will be joined at the end of their mission for three to five days by the crew of the upcoming Shenzhou 15, marking the first time the station will have had six people aboard.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#16 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Oct 31, 2022 2:22 pm

China launches third and final space station component
Mengtian, or “Celestial Dream,” joins Wentian as the second laboratory module for China’s permanent space station, collectively known as Tiangong.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/chin ... -rcna54762

BEIJING — China on Monday launched the third and final module to complete its permanent space station, realizing a more than decade-long endeavor to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit.

Mengtian was blasted into space at 3:39 p.m. (3:39 a.m. ET) Monday from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan.

A large crowd of amateur photographers, space enthusiasts and assorted lookers-on watched the lift-off from an adjoining beach.

Many waved Chinese flags and wore T-shirts emblazoned with the characters for China, reflecting the deep national pride invested in the space program and the technological progress it represents.

Mengtian, or “Celestial Dream,” joins Wentian as the second laboratory module for the station, collectively known as Tiangong, or “Celestial Palace.” Both are connected to the Tianhe core module where the crew lives and works.

Like its predecessors, Mengtian was launched aboard a Long March-5B Y4 carrier rocket — a member of China’s most powerful family of launch vehicles.

Mengtian was due to spend 13 hours in flight before reaching Tiangong which is populated by a crew of two male and one female astronauts, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

Chen Dong, Cai Xuzhe and Liu Yang arrived in early June for a six-month stay on board, during which they will complete the station’s assembly, conduct space walks and carry out additional experiments.

Following Mengtian’s arrival, an additional un-crewed Tianzhou cargo craft is due to dock with the station next month with another crewed mission scheduled for December, at which time crews may overlap as Tiangong has sufficient room to accommodate six astronauts.

Mengtian weighs in at about 20 tons with a length of 58.7 feet, and a diameter of 13.8 feet. It will provide space for science experiments in zero gravity, an airlock for exposure to the vacuum of space, and a small robotic arm to support extravehicular payloads.

The already orbiting 23-ton Wentian laboratory is designed for science and biology experiments and is heavier than any other single-module spacecraft currently in space.

Next year, China plans to launch the Xuntian space telescope, which, while not a part of Tiangong, will orbit in sequence with the station and can dock occasionally with it for maintenance.

In all, the station will have about 3,880 cubic feet of pressurized interior space.

China’s crewed space program is officially three decades old this year. But it truly got underway in 2003, when China became only the third country after the U.S. and Russia to put a human into space using its own resources.

The program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, and has proceeded methodically and almost entirely without outside support. The U.S. excluded China from the International Space Station because of its military ties.

Prior to launching the Tianhe module, China’s Manned Space Program launched a pair of single-module stations that it crewed briefly as test platforms.

The permanent Chinese station will weigh about 66 tons — a fraction of the size of the ISS — which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 465 tons.

With a lifespan of 10-15 years, Tiangong could one day find itself the only space station still running if the ISS adheres to its 30-year operating plan.

China has also chalked up success with un-crewed missions, and its lunar exploration program generated media buzz last year when its Yutu 2 rover sent back pictures of what was described by some as a “mystery hut” but was most likely only a rock of some sort. The rover is the first to be placed on the little-explored far side of the moon.

China’s Chang’e 5 probe returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s in December 2000 and another Chinese rover is searching for evidence of life on Mars. Officials are also considering a crewed mission to the moon.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#17 Post by llondel » Mon Oct 31, 2022 4:01 pm

Where have they targeted the first stage to crsplash down?

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#18 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Oct 31, 2022 4:04 pm

llondel wrote:
Mon Oct 31, 2022 4:01 pm
Where have they targeted the first stage to crsplash down?
Probably Tindal RAAFB :D

The United States is preparing to build dedicated facilities for the long-range bombers at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, national broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Tindal is south of the coastal city of Darwin, where thousands of U.S. Marines Corps troops have spent about half of each year since 2012 under a deal struck between then-U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#19 Post by llondel » Fri Nov 04, 2022 3:11 pm

llondel wrote:
Mon Oct 31, 2022 4:01 pm
Where have they targeted the first stage to crsplash down?
Looks like Spain https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63513070
Spain briefly closed parts of its airspace over the risks posed by a Chinese rocket re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

Barcelona and Ibiza airports were among those impacted by the grounding, which lasted around 40 minutes on Friday.

The decision came after China sent its powerful Long March 5B rocket to deliver the final module of its Tiangong space station.

A remnant of the rocket is now making an uncontrolled re-entry.

Most of the remnant was expected to burn up during its descent.

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Re: Tianhe, "Harmony of the Heavens"

#20 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Nov 04, 2022 4:49 pm

China’s rocket booster falls from space, crash lands in the Pacific Ocean

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/04/world/ch ... index.html

CNN

The charred remnants of a rocket booster plunged uncontrolled back to Earth Friday morning, an event decried in the West as an irresponsibly risky move by the China National Space Administration.

The rocket reentered the atmosphere over the south-central Pacific Ocean just after 6 a.m. ET, according to the US Space Command, which is part of the Department of Defense.

“Once again, the People’s Republic of China is taking unnecessary risks with the uncontrolled rocket stage reentry of their Long March 5B rocket stage. They did not share specific trajectory information which is needed to predict landing zones and reduce risk,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement released Friday morning.

“It is critical that all spacefaring nations are responsible and transparent in their space activities and follow established best practices, especially, for the uncontrolled reentry of a large rocket body debris – debris that could very well result in major damage or loss of life.”

Remnants of China's uncontrolled rocket reentered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean, US Space Command says
This hazardous situation marked the fourth uncontrolled reentry for a Long March 5B rocket since China’s space agency started flying it two years ago, as the vehicle was designed without the necessary equipment to steer itself to a safe landing. That fact has repeatedly stirred up controversy and been criticized by space policy experts who say it poses an unnecessary risk.

“I want to point out that the lower the acceptable risk is, the more expensive it is to design to that risk. But it’s something that must be done,” said Dr. Lael Woods, a space traffic management expert with the Space Safety Institute, during a news conference hosted by The Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research center.

“Imagine the roads today are completely empty,” she continued. “There’s really not much need to have rules or stoplights and so on. But we absolutely — with our population that we have driving around on the roads today — we must have stoplights and traffic signs and rules.”

The rocket booster is 108 feet (33 meters) end to end, noted Ted Muelhaupt, a space traffic expert and Aerospace Corporation consultant. Much of the hardware will burn up during the fiery reentry process as the 22-metric-ton rocket plunges back into Earth’s thick atmosphere, but about 10% to 40% is expected to survive. That’s how much debris can make it back into the atmosphere and pose a threat, Muelhaupt said.

A Long March 5B rocket has yet to pose a threat to people. Debris has, however, been found on land. Muelhaupt noted that after one of the boosters crash-landed in 2022, debris was found in Malaysia and the Philippines.

This specific rocket booster was used on an October 31 mission that carried another piece of China’s new space station, called Tiangong, to orbit.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, world's most powerful rocket, launches after three-year hiatus
Most rockets flying today are built with a means to ensure that rocket boosters are safely discarded. Some companies ensure rockets are steered back toward the ocean. US rocket company SpaceX even manages to guide its first-stage rocket boosters — the largest, bottommost portion of a rocket that gives the initial thrust at liftoff — back to a controlled, pinpoint landing so they can be refurbished and used again.

Muelhaupt noted, however, that equipping a rocket to make such a maneuver is far from trivial. It costs time and development money. The extra equipment also adds mass, and when it comes to trying to escape the crushing pull of gravity and putting precious cargo into space, every pound counts.

Muelhaupt added that he doesn’t foresee China attempting to redesign its rocket to add safer landing capabilities, as making that type of adjustment is not trivial.

“it can be really difficult to bring together an entire global community, or even segments of the global community to come to an agreement on what those norms should be and for standards like things like acceptable risk,” Woods said. “But while it’s really difficult, we believe that establishing international consensus on these norms for behavior involving space is absolutely a worthy and important endeavor.”

In a Friday tweet, US Space Command referred questions about the rocket reentry to the government of China, which did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

At a briefing with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), however, spokesperson Zhao Lijian referred questions to the department in charge of the rocket booster.

“As a matter of principle, I would like to emphasize that China has always carried out activities for the peaceful use of outer space in accordance with international law and international practice, and it is internationally accepted practice for the upper stages of rockets to re-enter the atmosphere,” Zhao said. “The Chinese authorities have been closely monitoring the relevant rocket wreckage orbital parameters. We will release information to the international community in an open and transparent manner and in a timely manner.”

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