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China announces its space station will be ready this year, plans 40-plus launches in 2022

When completed, China will be the only country with its space station, as Russia's International Space Station (ISS) is a joint effort involving multiple countries.

China announces its space station will be ready this year plans 40 plus launches in 2022 gcw
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Beijing, First Published Jan 8, 2022, 9:10 AM IST
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China has announced that its space station, which is billed as a vital strategic asset in space, will be operational this year, offering a birds-eye perspective of the planet. When completed, China will be the only country with its space station, as Russia's International Space Station (ISS) is a joint effort involving multiple countries. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) said that the government would finish the construction of the space station by 2022. The China Space Station (CSS) is also anticipated to compete with the ISS.

Observers believe that as the ISS retires in the future years, CSS will be the only space station left in orbit. Currently, three astronauts, a woman, were working constructing the station in space. Previously, the United States voiced alarm over CSS's huge robotic arm, which could capture items from orbit. According to the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), the arm was in motion on Thursday when it successfully grasped and moved the 20-tonne Tianzhou-2 cargo ship in a test.

It was the 10-metre-long robotic arm's first such manoeuvre. It stretched out and grabbed Tianzhou-2 in the early dawn, disconnecting it from the CSS core module and transferring it to another spot. The exercise demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of utilising the mechanical arm to manoeuvre a portion of the space station while in orbit and the arm's capacity to handle huge loads, according to state-run CGTN-TV. According to the company, the result has set the door for more in-orbit assembly work for the space station's construction later this year.

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So far, the Tianhe core module, Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft, and Shenzhou-13 spaceship make up the incomplete space station. CSS has recently made headlines after China claimed to the United Nations that SpaceX Starlink satellites, owned by US entrepreneur Elon Musk, had two "close encounters" with it in orbit, risking the safety of its astronauts.
Furthermore, according to CASTC, China will have 40-plus space launches in 2022, including numerous human space trips, putting it on a level with the United States.

Furthermore, according to the Xinhua report, China aims to launch two cargo spacecraft, two Shenzhou spaceships, and two laboratory modules for the space station this year. Other space station missions include in-orbit rendezvous and docking, extravehicular activities, and ship return. According to the company, the Long March-6A carrier rocket will also fly for the first time in 2022.

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