(From Popular Science)
By Jeffrey P. Lin and P.W. Singer
The China Manned Space Agency released several Powerpoint slides showing a closer look at the Tiangong 3, China’s planned space station. Scheduled to be commissioned in 2022, the Tiangong 3 will be regularly visited by Shenzhou manned space vessels, and automated Tianzhou resupply vehicles.
The core 22-ton module, “Tianhe 1”, which can accommodate a crew of three taikonauts for 40 days, will be launched in 2018, with the two attendant science modules to fly into orbit in the following four years. Tianhe 1 will have five access/docking ports, and a robotic arm. Tianhe 1 will contain a laboratory with integrated modular racks for storing scientific equipment and experiments. The Tiangong 3 can undergo future expansion by attaching additional Tianhe core modules.
Both science modules will be around the same size as Tianhe 1, with a mass of 20 tons each. The first science module, Wengtian, comes with another set of internal modular racks for scientific missions. Wengtian will also have its own small robotic arm to assist taikonauts in conducting experiments out in the vacuum of space. Read more