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WENTIAN LAB MODULE

25th July, 2022 Science and Technology

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Context

  • China successfully launched its space station lab module Wentian, the largest spacecraft ever developed by the country, into orbit.

 

Wentian lab module

About

  • Wentian officially the Wentian laboratory cabin module is a major module of the Tiangong space station.
  • Wentian features an airlock cabin that is to be the main exit-entry point for extravehicular activities when the Tiangoing Space station is completed.
  • It has the same astronaut living facilities as the Tianhe core module, including three sleeping areas, a toilet and a kitchen.
  • A small robotic arm half the weight and length of the existing robotic arm on the space station's core module is aboard the Wentian module. The small robotic arm will have similar missions to its predecessor, including assisting astronauts during extravehicular activities and carrying out inspections of extravehicular conditions.

 

Tiangong Space Station

Tiangong is a space station being constructed by China in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km above the surface. Being China's first long-term space station, it is the goal of the "Third Step" of the China Manned Space Program. Once completed, Tiangong will have a mass between 180,000 and 220,000 lb roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station.

 

Dimensions

  • With a length of 17.9 meters, a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a takeoff weight of 23 tonnes, the Wentian module is the largest and heaviest spacecraft China has developed.

Purpose

  • The Wentian laboratory module provides additional navigation avionics, propulsion and orientation control as backup functions for the Tianhe Core Module (TCM).
  • The lab module will provide a bigger platform for scientific experiments in space. It is mainly for space life science research. The module is equipped with laboratory cabinets for life ecology, biotechnology and variable gravity science.
  • It provides a pressurized environment for researchers to conduct science experiments in freefall or zero gravity which could not be conducted on Earth for more than a few minutes.
  • Experiments can also be placed on the outside of the modules, for exposure to the space environment, cosmic rays, vacuum, and solar winds.

 

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