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China Launches Core Module for Permanent Space Station & Robot Prototype for Space Cleaning

China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched the Core Module named ‘Tianhe or Heavenly Harmony’ for its new permanent space station called ‘Tiangong Space Station’.

  • It was launched on a Long March 5B rocket from Wenchang Launch Center, Hainan, China. It is the 1st of 11 missions needed for constructing the new space station of China.
  • The Module contains living quarters for crew members of ‘Tiangong’
  • Along with the Tianhe Module, ‘NEO-01’, a robot prototype for cleaning space debris in Low Earth Orbit was also launched. The robot is designed by Origin Space, a Chinese Space Mining Company.

Chinese Space Station – Tiangong

  • The Chinese Space Station is expected to be ready by 2022; the astronauts will live on the station for six months at a time.
  • At present, the only current space station in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS), which is a collaboration between Russia, US, Canada, Europe and Japan. China was excluded from participating in it.
  • The ISS is set to be retired after 2024, which would potentially leave Tiangong as the only space station in Earth’s orbit.
  • China is aiming to transform into a major space power by 2030.

NEO-01

Thousands of satellites have been launched globally; as they outlive their use they end up as junk and pose risk to other operating satellites.

  • NEO-01, a 30 kg robot aims to collect this debris; it will burn the debris with its electric propulsion system.
  • Apart from cleaning Space debris, the robot will peer into deep space to observe small celestial bodies.
  • Origin Space the developer of NEO-01 is also planning to launch dozens of space telescopes and spacecraft to achieve 1st commercial mining of asteroids by 2045.
  • The world’s 1st asteroid mining company ‘Planetary Resources’ was launched in 2009, since then many firms have been entering the sector.

Recent Related News:

i.On December 22, 2020, China’s new Space Carrier Rocket ‘Long March-8’ successfully launched 5 satellites into a preset orbit in its maiden flight, the rocket was launched from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, Hainan, China.

About China National Space Administration (CNSA):

Administrator – Zhang Kejian
Headquarters – Beijing, China

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