China's space station core module Tianhe will soon be turned into a laboratory, Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.
After Tianhe's infrastructure is completed, astronauts will need to assemble and test scientific experiment equipment to establish a space experiment environment.
In other words, Tianhe will be temporarily turned into a laboratory until the Wentian Experiment Module Ⅰ and Mengtian Experiment Module Ⅱ are launched.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has not yet disclosed what experiments the astronauts will conduct on the space station.
The core module Tianhe is 16.6 meters long, mainly for the control and management of the space station, with long-term autonomous flight capabilities. It can support astronauts' long-term stay, as well as space medicine and space science experiments.
Tianhe includes three parts: the node module, the life and control module and the resource module, with three docking ports and mooring ports.
The docking ports are used for manned spacecraft, cargo spacecraft, and other vehicles to access the station. The mooring port is used to assemble the two experimental modules with the core module to form the space station assembly, and there is also an exit port for astronauts to go out of the module.
On April 29, 2021, the Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket with the space station core module Tianhe was launched from the Wenchang Spaceport in Hainan.
The Shenzhou-12 spaceship was launched on June 17, 2021, and officially docked with China’s space station on that day.
The three astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo, then entered Tianhe and have now been in orbit for more than 50 days, just five weeks before the March deadline.