China efficiently launched its second module, referred to as Wentian, to the Tiangong area station early Sunday morning (through SpaceNews). Wentian took off aboard a Lengthy March 5B rocket from the Wenchang House Launch Website in Hainan, China at 2:22AM ET (2:22PM native), docking on the Tiangong area station about 13 hours later at 3:13PM ET (3:13AM native).
The Wentian module comprises gear that permits the Chinese language astronauts, often known as taikonauts, to carry out varied scientific experiments throughout their time on the station. As famous by The New York Occasions, the extra module can even present three additional areas to sleep, in addition to one other airlock that crewmembers can use to conduct spacewalks.
In June, China despatched the three-person Shenzhou 14 crew to Tiangong to organize for Wentian’s arrival. Mengtian, the station’s third and last lab module, is ready to launch on a Lengthy March 5B in October. This may full the Tiangong area station, forming a T-shaped construction as soon as the ultimate module has docked.
There are some issues about the place the huge Lengthy March 5B rocket will find yourself now that it delivered Wentian, although. Whereas most rockets safely drop their decrease phases into the ocean beneath, such a rocket does issues in a different way. As SpaceNews notes, it delivers its payload by launching its total first stage into low-Earth orbit, with no technique to redirect or management its motion when it comes crashing all the way down to Earth.
In 2020, the rocket was blamed for the metallic particles that wound up in Côte d’Ivoire. It additionally made an uncontrolled descent into the Indian Ocean after it delivered the Tianhe core module to area final 12 months.