Sunday, February 5, 2023

China launches Wentian Space Station Module

Wentian, China launched the second space station module, successfully early Sunday morning. The Chinese spacecraft carrying Wentian took off from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan, China, at 2:22 AM ET. Which was 2:22 PM local time, and docked at the Tiangong space station module at 3:13 PM ET. Which was more than 13 hours later (3:13 AM local).

With the equipment on the Wentian module, the Chinese astronauts, who are said taikonauts, is always able to do a wide range of scientific experiments while they are on the International Space Station. The New York Times says that the third module will have three more places to sleep and a second airlock for spacewalks.

In June, Wentian arrived at Tiangong. To get ready, China sent the three-person crew of Shenzhou 14 to Tiangong. In October, a Long March 5B rocket will launch Mengtian (China), the last lab module for the station, into space. Tiangong’s final module will form a T-shape when got to the space station.

Many people worry about where Wentian will land now that the huge Long March 5B rocket has sent it on its way. Most rockets drop their bottom stages safely into the ocean below. This rocket, however, does things differently. It sends its cargo to Earth besides putting its first stage in low-Earth orbit, where it can’t turn round and control when it crashes.

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Thanks to the rocket, there will be pieces of metal on Côte D’Ivoire in 2020. Last year, it sent the Tianhe core module into space and then landed in the Indian Ocean by accident.

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