The Chinese station “Tiangong” successfully tested its robotic arm

The International Space Station has a Canadarm2 robotic arm that plays an important role in assembling and maintaining the station. Thanks to this design, it is easier for astronauts to work in outer space, as it independently moves the necessary equipment and parts. Approximately the same manipulator is equipped with the Chinese space station Tiangong, the first segment of which was launched into low Earth orbit at the end of April 2021. Recently, representatives of the Administration of China’s Manned Space Flight Program announced that they have successfully tested it in practice. During the test, the robotic arm dragged the cargo vehicle Tianzhou-2 to the side and returned it to its place. Let’s find out more information about the test.

Tiangong Orbital Station

Интересный факт: в конце 2021 года станция «Тяньгун» чудом избежала столкновения с космическим спутником Starlink от компании SpaceX. Это событие стало поводом для скандала, о котором я рассказал тут.

Test of the robot arm “Tiangong”

The test of the Tiangong space station’s robotic arm was carried out on January 6, 01:59 Moscow time. During the test, the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship was detached from the station’s main segment, moved to the side using a robotic arm, and successfully returned to its location. After that the ship put back safely. It is worth remembering that there are several Tianzhou ships and all of them are used to deliver goods. For their launch into orbit, launchers “Changzheng-7” are used.

Unfortunately, there is no test video as China is reluctant to share such details.

Features of the Chinese station “Tiangong”

There are currently three people inside the Tiangong Space Station. Taikonauts were delivered there on October 16 using the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft. They will spend six months inside the station, during which they will work on the arrangement of the interior and exterior parts of the structure. Sometimes they go into space – the first sortie was carried out on November 7. Most likely, in 2022 they will also go into space, but the exact dates of these events are unknown.

Taikonauts inside Tiangong Station

It is important to note that Tiangong is the first space station built in China. Like many other stations, it consists of modules that are each launched into outer space during different missions. The first segment was launched last April – all subsequent episodes are docked with it. Thanks to this approach, engineers assemble a huge structure in space without having to launch huge payloads at once. So far, only cargo and passenger ships have docked in the first segment, delivering the necessary equipment and people.

The space station Tiangong is located at an altitude of 400 meters

The Tiangong space station is located at an altitude of 400 kilometers. It is expected that it will ultimately consist of three large modules and weigh around 60 tons. There is enough space inside the station for a permanent stay of three people. But during a crew change, up to six researchers will be able to stay inside. If all goes according to plan, China’s Tiangong station will be in operation for 10 years. It is possible that it will last longer, but it is too early to talk about this at this time. It is possible that not only taikonauts, but also scientists from other countries will work at the station. The official launch of the Tiangong station is scheduled for 2022.

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The construction of the lunar station

In mid-2021, it became known that China wants to cooperate with Russia to create a lunar station. The project to create a station on the surface of the moon is called the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) – any country can participate in it. An invitation to participate in the project was sent to the European Space Agency (ESA), and Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also expressed their desire to participate. It is possible that the project will receive support from private companies such as Blue Origin, Rocket Lab and so on. But SpaceX is unlikely to shed light on this issue, as it helps NASA create a lunar station.

What the lunar station will look like is unknown

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It is known that the construction of the lunar station will be divided into three stages. I talked about each of them in this article.

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