China launched the last module of its under construction Tiangong space station on Monday, according to images from state broadcaster CCTV.
This step should enable the Chinese station to be fully operational and to provide Beijing with a permanent presence in space.
The module, dubbed Mengtian (“dream of the heavens”), was launched at 3:27 p.m. (7 a.m. 27 GMT) by a Long March 5B rocket from the tropical island of Hainan (south).
Mengtian is the third and final major element of the T-shaped Tiangong space station.
Its assembly required a total of eleven missions.
The last on Monday must make it possible to transport cutting-edge scientific equipment.
Tiangong must remain in low orbit, between 400 and 450 km above the Earth, for at least ten years, with the ambition of maintaining a long-term human presence in space.
Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”), similar in size to the former Russian-Soviet Mir station, is expected to have a lifespan of at least 10 years.
Even though China does not plan to international cooperation for its space station, Beijing has assured that it is open to foreign collaboration.
China has been investing billions of euros in its space program for several decades.
The ambition China's plan to build a space station was fueled in part by the United States' refusal to accept Chinese in the International Space Station (ISS) program, a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, the 'Europe and Japan.
The Asian giant sent its first astronaut into space in 2003.
In 2019, the country landed a machine on the far side of the Moon, a world first.
In 2020, China brought back samples from the Moon and landed a small robot on Mars the following year.
China plans to it to send men to the Moon by 2030.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128