China Takes Giant Step Toward Launching Its Space Station --"Will It Replace the ISS When Its Retired in 2024?"
In 2024, China's space station will become operational at the same time when the International Space Station (ISS) shown above will retire, according to its current plans on development. The ISS is the most well-known artificial science laboratory on a worldwide scale, but China is currently working on taking its place with a space-based science lab. It's currently unknown if China is going to be the only country in the world to detain such a facility by that time.
Chinese Space Station To Be Completed By 2022. The core of China's space station module is scheduled to head out into space in 2018 which will be lifted by the most powerful Chinese rocket, the Long March 5. The station is expected to be completed by 2022 consisting of a core and two lab modules, with ports that will enable multiple spacecraft to dock, according to Northbridge Times.
This dock will be used by manned and cargo spacecraft to deliver supplies for astronauts who will reside in the station for over a year. The space station itself is designed to last up to 10 years in orbit, circling Earth 400 km above the surface.
China will to take another crucial step towards constructing a space station when it launches Tianzhou-1, a cargo spacecraft in April that will be required to keep the future Chinese Space Station (CSS) fuelled and its astronauts fully sustained and supplied.
Tianzhou-1 will launch from the new coastal Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on the second Long March 7 carrier rocket, and once in orbit dock with Tiangong-2, with the main aim of testing and proving liquid propellant refuelling technologies in microgravity. Live streams will be available.
Once in orbit, the 13-tonne cargo spacecraft will fly on its own for around three months and for another two months while docked with the smaller Tiangong-2 space lab. During the mission the spacecraft will dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 three separate times, each testing refuelling procedures, according to an official with China's human spaceflight body.
The mission will also test a 6-hour fast automated rendezvous and docking procedure.
Once the mission is completed, Tianzhou-1 will be de-orbited and burn up in the atmosphere, in the same way as Progress cargo spacecraft in order to dispose of waste, while Tiangong-2 will continue to orbit and carry out experiments.