Today, June 17, China performed a manned launch of the Changzheng-2F launch vehicle, which is supposed to deliver three crew members to the China Modular Space Station (abbreviated as KMKS) to perform various types of work. It also became known that the Chinese cosmonauts will spend three months in the Tianhe base compartment, which is the central element of the future station – for this, the module is equipped with living quarters, a control center, power and propulsion systems and, of course, a full-fledged life support system. The astronauts are supposed to return home in September 2021.
#UPDATE The first astronauts for China’s new space station have blasted off for the country’s longest crewed mission to date, a landmark step in establishing Beijing as a major space powerhttps://t.co/Ykl8Uc5Zdk pic.twitter.com/HF2opr7K7k
– AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 17, 2021
It is worth noting that this launch was significant for the Chinese cosmonauts – the launch of “Shenzhou-12” was even broadcast on state television. The fact is that since October 2016, China has not sent astronauts into space. But now, apparently, flights will be a more frequent event – since April 2021, the Chinese government has decided to build its own full-fledged space station, which, however, is inferior to the ISS and Mir in size. According to the plan, over the next two years, China will launch additional experimental and scientific units into space and connect to the main module and deliver supplies.
The reason for such a sharp change in course in the space program is quite obvious – due to the sanctions adopted by the United States against China, the latter cannot send its astronauts to the ISS. Moreover, NASA is also prohibited from sharing information or simply cooperating with Chinese scientists, so that the Celestial Empire was literally cut off from space. For this reason, the government of the country has decided to develop its own space program, and the KMKS is a conditional foundation – the station’s service life is estimated at at least ten years.