China Space Station Module Launched

China has launched a 20 ton core space station module. They will launch two more lab modules in 2022. The Tianhe space station will be similar to the Soviet Salyut space station modules. The station will likely end up about half the size of the old Mir space station. The Mir had seven modules and weighed 130 tons.

The Tiangong Space Station, large modular space station, is designed to be used for 10 years which could be extended to 15 years and will accommodate three astronauts. It will likely be about 60 tons.

The ISS is larger, Mir was larger and Skylab. Skylab was 76 tons and launched in one piece by a Saturn V.

The Chinese module was launched on a Long March 5B rocket.

SOURCES – Scott Manley, reuters, Wikipedia
Written By Brian Wang,

9 thoughts on “China Space Station Module Launched”

  1. Bit of an issue is the final rocket stage that delivered the module to orbit apparently can't to a controlled deorbit of itself, so it will have a very large and uncontrolled reentry. Not clear if that was due to propellant exhaustion or stage issues. SpaceX recently had an uncontrolled reentry of an F9 second stage, but they usually have controlled deorbits.

  2. In that light, I wonder if you could build a stub Starship, just the engines and header tanks, and connections for larger tanks above, capable of reentry and landing on its own?

    Then you launch large habitat segments as detachable tanks. Also parts for an orbital tank farm, which I think SpaceX's plans could really use, to allow very rapid orbital refueling without being limited by launch cadence.

  3. If you really want a large volume space station at this point, you'll just launch a fuel tank into orbit, and then bring the equipment on a second flight to convert the empty tank into living space. No reason the tank can't be pre-equipped with interior fittings, so long as they don't obstruct the fuel flow.

    Western space agencies really hate that approach, though, as they're addicted to bespoke equipment and everything being perfectly optimized and shiny.

  4. Good to have a presence in orbit. Unclear if it has the technology/systems to repair satelites or whether the tech is sophisiticated enough to easily lead to the next levels of station – artificial gravity, large habitable infrastructure, solar system mission jump-off node, etc…

  5. Hard call. Upper middle class (G7) and stable in an Autocracy -or- lower middle class and stable-ish in a Democracy (G7).

  6. good in theory. However, when a society reaches a certain threshold of civil disobedience, lack of productivity, and constant disruption of basic services, the government tends to react — leading to an escalation; leading to further loss of services and order, and so on. Many activists believe that removing a bad government (though not applicable to an evil regime as in some tribes in Afghanistan), without a good substitute and some kind of system in waiting, is better than keeping that bad government in power (i.e. better a power vacuum and chaos -than- bad power and order). This is faulty, as Arab Spring revealed. Most productive riots start from an obvious spark of outrage; but pass with government response, to a more-or-less stable society. Simply 'wanting stuff better' is not a useful starting point to a modern revolution – that requires many cycles of elevating the system and improving overall quality of life. Instant democracy ≠ easy, widespread success. Democracies are built on a fundamental foundation of peaceful productivity. China, on the otherhand is a fundamental autocracy, and with increasing wealth (a sign of acceptance) is/will be unassailable. Better to move.

  7. They are right. I wouldn't bother building a big space station at this stage, only for experiments in space that require humans on board. What we are doing is an international show. When we resolve volume mass and cost barriers to true gravity space habitation, that will be another requirements spec.

  8. IT is in the best interest of people to protect their individual freedom to choose, freedom to express, challenge and criticize without fear of government prisons, losing a job, prevented to get a job, silenced. And news, media, internet freedom without government auditing, hiding deleting and defacing the truth. I hope the west will always stay on top for the protection of these freedom.

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