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China Ready to Launch First Part of ISS Knockoff Tiangong This Year


China is getting its own space station ready, since much of the rest of the world is participating on the ISS. The Chinese space station is called the Tiangong, which apparently means “heavenly place.” The Chinese space station will be much, much smaller than the ISS.

china space station

The ISS tips the scales at around 450 tons here on Earth. The Chinese station will weigh only 60 tons. It will have one primary module, which you see in the photo here. It will also have two experiment modules and extra docking ports for additional spacecraft.

China plans to launch the main module this year and two other modules will come thereafter. The docking hardware will allow the Chinese station to dock with the ISS, assuming the Chinese are invited to the ISS party.

[ via Dvice]

Comments (2):

  1. Rustin Haase says:

    It would be stupid for them not to join with the ISS unless there is some kind of safety benefit in having two functional space stations up there. Disasters at one might be reduced with resources from the other. Scientific experiments might interfere less too.

    Actually this separate Chinese way of doing things reflects their erroneous perspective that they are the center of the universe and/or the fact that their space activities are actually a military operation. Perspective adjustments will come over time. :-)

    More people in space is a good thing and I’m glad to see the Chinese doing it too. Maybe they’ll scare the Americans and Russians and we’ll have a new space race with even more people going up. As long as things don’t get too heated, it would be a good thing.

  2. Corey says:

    Actually, the problem is much more on the U.S. end.. China wants to be a part of the ISS. Many of the ultra conservatives in congress recently forbid the NASA from even exploring cooperation with Tiangong, though Roscosmos and the ESA recently voiced interest in including both China and India on the ISS.

    It’s too bad; China has it’s ecomonic crap together enough to actually have a well-funded space program right now, and elements in our government or still too afraid to share our leading in space technology (for what will probably be a relatively short time left that we can even call it that). I’d like to think that we don’t need another fear-fueled space race to take our technology to the next level; but the reality is that the last time we left low Earth orbit to go to the moon was decades before we even had personal desktop computers.

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