Tiangong-1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Tiangong 1)
Jump to: navigation, search
Tiangong-1
天宫一号
Plan diagram of Tiangong-1 with its solar panels extended
Station statistics
COSPAR ID 2011-053A
Crew 3
Launch 29 September 2011[1][2] at 21:16:03.507 CST
Launch pad Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-1
Mass 8,506 kg (18,753 lb)[3]
Length 10.4 m (34.1 ft)
Diameter 3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Pressurised volume 15 m3 (530 cu ft)[4]
Perigee 367 kilometres (228 mi)[5]
Apogee 382 kilometres (237 mi)[5]
Orbital inclination 42.77 degrees[5]
Orbital period 91.90 minutes[5]
Orbit epoch 5 April 2014[5]
Days in orbit 930
(as of 16 April)
Number of orbits 14457[5]
Tiangong1
Simplified Chinese 天宫一号
Traditional Chinese 天宮一號
Literal meaning Heavenly Palace-1 or Sky Palace-1

Tiangong-1 (Chinese: 天宫一号; pinyin: Tiāngōng yīhào; literally "Heavenly Palace 1") is China's first space station,[6] serving as both a manned laboratory and an experimental testbed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities.[7] Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket[1] on 29 September 2011,[8] it is the first operational component of the Tiangong program, which aims to place a larger, modular station into orbit by 2023.[7][9] As of September 2011, Tiangong-1 was projected to be deorbited in 2013,[10] and replaced over the following decade by the larger Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules.[11] However, Tiangong-1 remains in orbit as of 2014.[12]

Tiangong-1 was visited by a series of Shenzhou spacecraft during its two-year operational lifetime. The first of these, the unmanned Shenzhou 8, successfully docked with the module in November 2011,[13][14] while the manned Shenzhou 9 mission docked in June 2012.[15][16][17] A third and final mission to Tiangong-1, the manned Shenzhou 10, docked in June 2013.[18][19][20] The manned missions to Tiangong-1 were notable for including China's first female astronauts, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping.[19][21]

Design and development[edit]

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) designed Tiangong-1 as an 8.5-metric-ton (19,000 lb) "space-laboratory module", capable of supporting the docking of manned and autonomous spacecraft. In 2008, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) released a brief description of Tiangong-1, along with its larger successor modules, Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3. A model of the space station was revealed in the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration program on CCTV on 25 January 2009.[22]

On 29 September 2008, Zhang Jianqi (张建启), vice-director of the CMSEO, declared in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV)[23] that Tiangong-1 would be launched in 2010 or 2011. Xinhua later stated that Tiangong-1 would be launched in late 2010, and declared that the renovation of ground equipment was in progress.[24] However, the launch did not ultimately take place until 2011.

By mid-2011, the construction of Tiangong-1 was complete, and its systems and thermal properties were undergoing testing. Testing was also conducted on the Long March 2F carrier rocket on which Tiangong-1 would be launched; technicians undertook particularly extensive safety tests on the rocket in August and September 2011,[8] following the launch failure of a Long March 2C rocket on 18 August.

Structure[edit]

Tiangong-1 has a pressurised habitable volume of approximately 15 cubic metres (530 cu ft), and uses passive APAS-type docking connectors.[25] Structurally, Tiangong-1 is divided into two primary sections: a resource module, which mounts its solar panels and propulsion systems, and a larger, habitable experimental module.[26]

Onboard facilities[edit]

Tiangong-1's experimental module is equipped with exercise gear and two sleep stations.[4] The interior walls of the spacecraft have a two-color paint scheme – one color representative of the ground, and the other representative of the sky. This is intended to help the astronauts maintain their orientation in zero gravity.[4] High-resolution interior cameras allow manned missions to be closely monitored from the ground, and the two sleep stations have individual lighting controls.[27] Toilet facilities and cooking equipment for the manned missions are provided by the docked Shenzhou spacecraft, rather than being integrated into the Tiangong module itself.[27] Similarly, one member of the module's three-person crew sleeps in the Shenzhou spacecraft, preventing overcrowding.[27]

Mission profile[edit]

Background[edit]

Tiangong-1 was originally intended to be launched in August 2011, and was delivered to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on 23 July, successfully passing a launch rehearsal test on 17 August.[28] However, following the failed launch of a Long March 2C rocket in August 2011, the launch was postponed. Following an investigation into the August launch failure,[8][29] Tiangong-1's launch was rescheduled for late September 2011,[30] partly to coincide with the Chinese National Day on 1 October.[31]

Launch[edit]

On 20 September 2011, the spacecraft was again rolled out to Pad 1 of the South Launch Site at Jiuquan in preparation for the rescheduled launch attempt.[32] The launch occurred at 13:16 UTC on 29 September, successfully placing Tiangong-1 into low Earth orbit.[28] Chinese television broadcast the launch animation accompanied by an instrumental version of the American patriotic song America the Beautiful, a choice of music for which it later offered no explanation.[33]

Orbital transfers and testing[edit]

On 2 October 2011, Tiangong-1 completed the second of two orbital transfer maneuvers, reaching an apogee altitude of 362 kilometres (225 mi).[34] This was the precursor to a week-long program of orbital testing, conducted from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center, to prepare the module for future orbital docking operations.[34] On 10 October, Tiangong-1 released its first orbital photo, showing a view of its outer hull and satellite relay antenna.[35]

Autonomous orbital docking[edit]

Diagram of Tiangong-1 (left) docked to a Shenzhou spacecraft (right).

The unmanned Shenzhou 8 mission successfully docked with Tiangong-1 on 2 November 2011 GMT, marking China's first orbital docking.[13] Shenzhou 8 undocked from Tiangong-1 on 14 November, before successfully completing a second rendezvous and docking, thus testing the reusability of the docking system.[14][36][37] Shenzhou 8 deorbited on 17 November 2011, and landed intact in Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia.[38] After the mission, the CNSA reported that Tiangong-1's systems were in optimal condition.[39]

Manned missions[edit]

Preparations[edit]

In December 2011, the Tiangong-1 module began automated internal checks for toxic gas, to ensure that its interior would be safe for astronauts to enter.[40] In January 2012, reports emerged alleging that the American X-37B robotic spaceplane was shadowing Tiangong-1 for surveillance purposes.[41] However, former United States Air Force orbital analyst Brian Weeden later refuted this claim, emphasizing that the X-37B occupied a different orbit from Tiangong-1, and would not be able to closely observe the module.[42]

Shenzhou 9[edit]

The three members of Shenzhou 9's crew. Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, is shown on the right.

In March 2012, it was reported that China had finished the initial crew selection for the Shenzhou 9 mission. Niu Hongguang, the deputy chief commander of the China Manned Space Engineering Project, stated that Shenzhou 9 would dock with Tiangong-1 before August 2012.[43] The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was delivered to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for launch preparations on 9 April 2012,[44] while its Long March 2F carrier rocket arrived a month later on 9 May.[45]

Shenzhou 9 launched successfully on 16 June 2012, carrying with it China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang.[15][17][21][46] The spacecraft docked with Tiangong-1 on 18 June 2012 at 14:07 Beijing time (06:07 GMT; 07:07 BST).[16] After about three hours, when the air pressures inside the two vessels were equalized, mission commander Jing Haipeng entered Tiangong-1.[47] The first docking was entirely computer-controlled, without input from the three astronauts;[16] a second, crew-guided docking was successfully conducted on 24 June 2012 at 12:42 Beijing time.[48] Shenzhou 9 landed safely in Inner Mongolia on 29 June 2012.[49] In August 2012, Shenzhou 9's crew travelled to Hong Kong to discuss their mission with university students.[50]

Shenzhou 10[edit]

The manned Shenzhou 10 spacecraft, the final Shenzhou mission to rendezvous with Tiangong-1 before its deorbit, was launched on 11 June 2013.[18][19][51] The launch of Shenzhou 10 was originally planned for earlier in the year, but was delayed to allow the mission to incorporate more complex scientific experiments.[52] The mission's crew included China's second female astronaut, Wang Yaping.[19] Shenzhou 10 docked successfully with Tiangong-1 on 13 June.[20]

On 15 June 2013, the Shenzhou 10 crew completed China's first orbital maintenance operation, replacing Tiangong-1's interior cladding.[53] Additional maintenance work was conducted on the space station's seal rings.[53] On 20 June, Wang Yaping delivered a remote video lecture from orbit to students across China, demonstrating physics in microgravity with her colleagues.[54] On 24 June, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping contacted the astronauts via remote video link to congratulate them.[55] After a series of successful docking tests, Shenzhou 10 undocked and returned safely to Earth on 26 June 2013.[56] With a duration of 15 days, Shenzhou 10 was China's longest manned space mission to date.[57]

Map of Tiangong-1's orbits in June 2013.

Future development[edit]

Tiangong-1 is not planned to be a permanent orbital station; rather, it is intended as a testbed for key technologies that will be used in China's large modular space station, which is planned for launch in 2023.[9] Furthermore, modified versions of Tiangong-1, the Tianzhou, will be used as robotic cargo spacecraft to resupply this station. The launch mass of the Tiangong-1-derived cargo spacecraft is expected to be around 13 metric tons (29,000 lb), with a payload of around 6 metric tons (13,000 lb).[11][58][59][60]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "China to launch unmanned space module by Sept 30". SpaceDaily.com. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Insider: Tiangong 1 to launch in early Sept.". Beijing Times. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  3. ^ 天宫一号任务飞行方案. (PDF, in Chinese). Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Xin, Dingding (27 September 2011). "Spacecraft ready to go on mission". China Daily. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "TIANGONG 1 Satellite details 2011-053A NORAD 37820". N2YO. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "China launches Tiangong-1 to mark next human space flight milestone". NASASpaceflight.com. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  7. ^ a b David, Leonard (11 March 2011). "China Details Ambitious Space Station Goals". Space.com. Retrieved 4 November 2013. "China is ready to carry out a multiphase construction program that leads to a large space station around 2020. As a prelude to building that facility, China is set to loft the Tiangong-1 module this year as a platform to help master key rendezvous and docking technologies." 
  8. ^ a b c "Spacecraft Tiangong-1 launch delayed". China Daily. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "China to launch space station by 2023". BBC. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "China to launch module for future space station" (PDF). PhysOrg.com. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  11. ^ a b "China to launch Tiangong-2 and cargo spacecraft in 2015". GB Times. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Extra Time for Tiangong". SpaceDaily.com. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Chinese spacecraft dock in orbit". BBC. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  14. ^ a b "China completes second space docking". AFP via Google. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  15. ^ a b "China launches space mission with first woman astronaut". BBC. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Shenzhou-9 docks with Tiangong-1". BBC. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  17. ^ a b "China to carry out manned space flight". BBC. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "China to launch next manned spaceship in 2013". BBC. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Shenzhou-10: China launches next manned space mission". BBC. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Shenzhou-10: Chinese capsule docks with space laboratory". BBC. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "China sends its first female astronaut into space". The Daily Telegraph. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  22. ^ "天宫一号"空间站已进入初样研制阶段(图)" (in Chinese). CCTV. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "我国将于2010年-2011年发射小型空间站" (in Chinese). Sina.com. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Unmanned space module to be launched in 2010, await space docking". Xinhuanet. 28 February 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "China Accelerates Manned Space Program with Tiangong Docking Module and Advanced Shenzhou". AmericaSpace. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  26. ^ "China Launches Tiangong-1 Space Lab". InterSpace News. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  27. ^ a b c "Living on Tiangong". SpaceDaily.com. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  28. ^ a b Barbosa, Rui (28 September 2011). "China launches TianGong-1 to mark next human space flight milestone". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Moskowitz, Clara (14 September 2011). "China's space dreams ride on robotic docking success". MSNBC. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  30. ^ "China Readies for Own Space Station in Test Launch". International Business Times. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  31. ^ "SPACE: ‘Heavenly Palace’ heads into space". Businessday.co.za. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  32. ^ "China set to ‘Leap Forward in Space’ as Tiangong 1 Rolls to Launch Pad". Universe Today. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  33. ^ Murray, Warren (30 September 2011). "Rocket's red glaring error: China sets space launch to America the Beautiful". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  34. ^ a b "天宫一号成功完成二次变轨" (in Chinese). People's Daily. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  35. ^ "Tiangong 1 releases first photo in space". People's Daily. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  36. ^ "2nd docking of Tiangong-1 & Shenzhou-8 on schedule". Xinhua. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  37. ^ "Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-8 disengages from space lab module Tiangong-1". Xinhua. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Shenzhou 8 Docking Mission Major Step To Space Station, China Says". Huffington Post. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  39. ^ "China plans major effort in pursuing manned space technology". SpaceDaily.com. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  40. ^ "Tiangong-1 orbiter starts planned cabin checks against toxic gas". SpaceDaily.com. 19 December 2011.
  41. ^ "US 'space warplane' may be spying on Chinese spacelab". The Register. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  42. ^ "Expert: U. S. Secret Space Plane Not Likely 'Spying' on China Module". International Business Times. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  43. ^ "Shenzhou-9 may take female astronaut to space". SpaceDaily.com. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  44. ^ "Shenzhou-9 spacecraft delivered to launch center". China Daily. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  45. ^ "Launch preps begin for next Chinese human spaceflight". Spaceflight Now. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  46. ^ "China to send first woman astronaut Liu Yang into space". BBC. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  47. ^ "China successfully completes space docking". China Daily. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  48. ^ "Video: China's first manual space docking". People's Daily Online. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  49. ^ "China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft returns to earth". The Guardian. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  50. ^ "Astronauts share feelings with HK students". China Daily. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  51. ^ "Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues". SpaceDaily.com. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  52. ^ "Reshuffle for Tiangong". SpaceDaily.com. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  53. ^ a b "Astronauts complete first maintenance on Tiangong-1". China Daily. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  54. ^ "China gives first lecture from space". BBC. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  55. ^ "China poised for bigger strides in space exploration: Xi Jinping". Zee News. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  56. ^ "China's Shenzhou-10 mission successful". Xinhua. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  57. ^ "China launches Shenzhou-10 manned space mission". The Telegraph. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  58. ^ "中国研制新火箭 发射货运飞船". 9 July 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  59. ^ "China expects to launch cargo ship into space around 2016". Space Daily. 6 March 2014. 
  60. ^ Morris Jones (3 March 2014). "The Next Tiangong". Space Daily. 

External links[edit]