Why in News:
- Chinese astronauts successfully performed the country’s first tandem spacewalk on the outside of the new Tiangong station in orbit around the Earth.
China’s Space Station:
- The multi-module Tiangong station is set to be operational for at least 10 years.
- It orbits Earth at an altitude of 340 to 450 km (Lower Earth Orbit)
- China also launched Tianhe– living quarters for astronauts– a main component of Tiangong station.
- Work on the space station programme began a decade ago with the launch of a space lab Tiangong-1 in 2011, and later, Tiangong-2 in 2016.
- The ISS is backed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. China was barred from the ISS by the United States.
- The module is named “Tianhe”, or “Harmony of the Heavens”.
- Tianhe is one of three main components of what would be China’s first self-developed space station, rivalling the only other station in service – the International Space Station (ISS).
- Tianhe forms the main living quarters for three crew members in the Chinese space station, which will have a lifespan of at least 10 years.
Other Space Missions of China
- Chang’e-5 -Moon
- Tianwen-1 – Mars
India and its Space station
- India has also set its eye on building its own space station in low earth orbit to conduct microgravity experiments in space in 5 to 7 years.
Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
- LEO is typically in a circular orbit about 400 to 900 kilometres above the earth’s surface and, correspondingly, has a much shorter period (time to revolve around the earth) of about 90 minutes.
- Low earth orbiting satellites are less expensive to launch into orbit than geostationary satellites and, due to proximity to the ground, do not require as high a signal strength.