From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Tiangong space station
Mains level : Not Much
Three Chinese astronauts floated into the country’s new Tiangong space station for a three-month mission.
Tiangong Space Station
- Tiangong means “Heavenly Palace”.
- It was 10.4 metres long and 3.35 metres wide at its widest point, and weighed 8.6 metric tonnes.
- It was launched on September 15, 2016 and, in late 2016, hosted two Chinese astronauts for 30 days in what was China’s longest manned space mission so far.
- The recently decommissioned space lab followed the Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, which crashed into the southern Pacific Ocean on April 1, 2018 after Chinese scientists lost control of the spacecraft.
- China had launched Tiangong-1 in 2011 as proof-of-concept of technologies for future stations.
- The Tiangong will be fully operational by the end of 2022.
Features of this Space Station
- The significant feature of Tiangong is its two robotic arms.
- The US has previously expressed concern over its ability to grab objects including satellites from space.
- The 10-meter-long arm was in action previously seen in action successfully grabbing and moving a 20 tonne Tianzhou-2 cargo ship in a test.
- One of the noteworthy tasks for the Shenzhou-14 crew is to test and operate the large and small
- The small arm is quite flexible and can perform operations with greater precision.