(Yicai Global) June 6 -- A spacecraft carrying three Chinese astronauts docked at the country’s first space station yesterday. The crew are tasked with completing the construction of the space station, which will serve as a national space laboratory, during their six-month mission.
The lab will be used for space medicine, space life sciences and biotechnology, microgravity fluid physics and combustion science, space material sciences, microgravity basic physics, as well as new technology scientific experiments, experts told Yicai Global. It will conduct basic experiments to begin with which will gradually become more complex over time.
“Space life sciences, which looks at living organisms in outer space, is an emerging discipline that has developed along with human space activities,” an insider at the Shenzhou Space Biotechnology Group told Yicai Global. “It is an important branch of space science.”
China began building the Tiangong space station, which has a modular design and can be assembled in orbit, in April last year and it is due to be completed by the end of this year. The two lab modules, Wentian and Mengtian, will be launched in July and October respectively, Zhang Shuangnan, an astrophysicist at the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a consultant at China Manned Space, told Yicai Global.
The space station is also an ideal place for astronomical observation, as its orbit is far from Earth’s atmosphere. China plans to add an Xuntian optical module in 2024 that will serve as a space observatory, detecting all astronomical phenomena that emit visible light, Zhang said.
Shenzhou Space conducts space experiments with application value, such as stability experiments for peptide biological information storage and mutagenesis experiments for probiotic strains, the company said.
Editor: Kim Taylor