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China prepares to launch 1st research cabin module for Tiangong Space Station.

“WenTian” weighs 23 tons and will double the workspace for taikonauts/astronauts

Long March CZ-5B #Y3 on to the launch pad in Wenchang

The China Manned Space Program Office (CMSA) said on Monday, July 18, 2022 that the combination of the Wentian laboratory module for the Chinese space station and its Long March-5B Y3 rocket has been transported to the launch complex 101. The CMSA added that the launch of the Wentian will take place “in the coming days at an opportune time” – sources say that the launch will take place on July 24. According to the office, several role verifications and joint testing work will be carried out before launch.

WenTian aka The Tiangong Space Station Experiment Module I, is one of the components of the Chinese Tiangong Space Station and the first of two large experimental modules in orbit in the basic configuration of the space station. The module is a control and experimental application module, mainly used for research, with a small multifunctional robotic arm and a backup airlock module outside the cabin.

WenTian LCM-1 (Launch Configuration)

The Experiment Module is mainly oriented to space life science research, configured with experimental cabinets for life ecology, biotechnology, and variable gravity science, which can support the study of growth, development, genetics, aging, and other response mechanisms of multiple species of plants, animals, and microorganisms under space conditions, as well as the experimental study of confined ecosystems, and through visible light, fluorescence, microscopic imaging, and other online detection means to support molecular, It can also provide variable gravity simulation from 0.01g to 2g to support the comparative study of the growth mechanism of organisms under different gravity conditions.

The Wentian module has a small mechanical arm designed to assist astronauts' extravehicular activities and can be used separately or in conjunction with the Tianhe main module's larger robotic manipulator arm. The module's airlock cabin, upon completion of the space station construction, will serve as the main spacewalk sluice for carrying out extravehicular work, while the main module's multi-port compartment cabin will become the spare exit. To ensure the reliable operation of the space station,

Amateur radio payload for the Tiangong space station

CSSARC is an amateur radio payload for the Chinese space station, proposed by the Amateur Radio Branch of the China Radio Association (CRAC), the Shanghai Institute of Aerospace Systems Engineering (ASES), and the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). The first phase of the payload is capable of providing the following functions using the very high frequency (VHF)/ultra-high frequency (UHF) amateur radio bands.

V/V or U/U crew voice.

V/U or U/V FM trunking transponder.

V/V or U/U 1k2 AFSK repeater digital.

V/V or U/U SSTV or digital image.

The payload will provide a resource for radio enthusiasts around the world to communicate with astronauts on board or with each other. It will also serve to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and encourage more people to become interested in amateur radio.

WenTian weighs around 23 tons and has over 90 cubic meters of internal volume.

The Wentian lab module is equipped with the same astronaut living quarters as the main Tianhe module, including three sleeping areas, a bathroom, and a modular kitchen. Wentian and Tianhe can accommodate up to six astronauts during crew changes of Shenzhou-14, Shenzhou-15, and further missions.

In addition to Wentian, the Chinese will launch later this year another research module (“experiment cabin”), the MengTian. The modules will become the main work area for astronauts in orbit after the Chinese space station is completed.

Mission Patch

The Wentian lab module will be launched in July, while the Mengtian in October, Hao Chun, head of China's Manned Space Program Office, told a news conference. Yang Hong, chief designer of the Manned Space Program Space Station System at the China Academy of Space Technology, noted that both modules are equipped with experiment cabinets and external platforms for installing payloads. In these two modules, astronauts will be able to carry out experiments in the field of science, space materials, medicine and space exploration.

The cargo bay and space exploration platform of the Mengtian laboratory module will serve for extravehicular research projects in the future.

The scientific equipment intended for installation on the external surface of the station will be sent by a freighter(Tianzhou) and launched into space through the cargo compartment, where later the cosmonauts, using manipulator arms, will be able to install it on the platform for extravehicular operations.

According to Yang Hong, the assembly and integrated testing of the Wentian has been completed in the city of Tianjin (North China), and the module is ready to be launched. In addition, the Mengtian module has been partially assembled and tested, and further testing is ongoing as scheduled.


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