søndag 9. januar 2022

China Planning Over 40 Space Launches This Year, Nearly On Par With Expected U.S. Missions

China said it is planning more than 40 space launches in 2022 as it continues building its Tiangong space station. The station's Tianhe core module currently is hosting a three-person crew. Among the launches planned this year are Mengtian and Wentian, the other two modules, which will weigh about 66 tons, or about a quarter of the International Space Station's (ISS) weight.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said two Shenzhou crewed missions and two Tianzhou cargo spacecrafts are also among the planned launches. The launch schedule is similar to the U.S., which had to slow its launches in 2021 due to supplies such as liquid oxygen and computer chips having to be redirected to hospitals to help COVID-19 patients.

Space.com reported that Tiangong, which means "Heavenly Place," is currently being built in low Earth orbit. The Tianhe module was launched in May of 2021 and the Chinese Manned Space Agency plans to finish building the station by the end of the year.