Future Chinese Space Station to Be Able to Dock With Massive Telescope

Long March 8 rocket 1 photo
Photo: CNSA
The space around our planet is getting increasingly crowded, and responsible for that will soon be not only the satellites we keep launching like there is no tomorrow, but also a small army of space stations.
Presently, Earth’s orbit holds only one habitable construction of this kind, the International Space Station. By the end of the decade, though, the Russians are planning to start assembling their own orbital laboratory, the Chinese are eyeing a similar endeavor in the not so distant future, and many private companies are already at work designing what can only be described as space hotels for the world’s rich and adventurous.

As far as the plans of the Chinese go, things are not yet entirely clear. The Asian nation makes no secrets of its plans of building a space station, but it might get involved with the Russians as well for its project.

As far as its own hardware is concerned, the country might launch the first module, Tianhe, as soon as next month, thus setting in motion a construction process that would end with the world having two stations in orbit at the same time.

Tianhe is the main living quarters for the taikonauts, and it will be capable of hosting up to three people for as long as six months at a time. But believe it or not, the Tianhe is not the most exciting part of the Chinese space laboratory.

That would be the so-called Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), a piece of hardware set to launch in 2024. Equipped with a massive camera, the telescope should be capable of looking at up to 40 percent of the sky in ten years, according to

But the most interesting part about it is that, although designed to orbit separated from the Chinese space station, it will have the capability of docking with it for refueling and upgrades.

If that will happen, the capability will eliminate the need for spacewalks and dedicated space missions while also making repair times shorter.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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