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The model of the Tiangong space station is shown to the public in Tianjing on September 7, 2019.
China is preparing for upcoming frequent space missions to construct China’s space station and the Long March-5B carrier rocket, set to launch capsules for the space station, is expected to make its maiden flight in 2020.
Zhou Jianping, an academic of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, has been appointed chief designer of China’s manned space program, and Gu Yidong, an academic of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been appointed chief space scientist of the program, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei and seven other experts in fields such as spacecraft, carrier rockets, space technology application, monitoring and communications systems have been appointed deputy chief designers.
China aims to complete the construction of the space station around 2022. AT 66 tons, the Tiangong space station will be T-shaped with the Tianhe core module at the center and the Wentian and Mengtian experiment capsules on each side.
The station, which will orbit 340 to 450 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, could be expanded to 180 tons if required and accommodate three to six astronauts. It is designed to last at least 10 years and could be prolonged through in-orbit maintenance, according to Zhou.
Sixteen experiment racks will be installed on the space station to support hundreds of space research projects.
China is selecting new astronauts for space station missions. After the station is completed, it will also welcome overseas astronauts to work with Chinese astronauts on the station.
Tianhe core module is displayed in this file photo in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.