Q&A: Getting to know China's space station
A core module of China's space station was launched into space on Thursday. The following questions and answers provide insight into China's new space venture.
Q1: What does the space station look like?
A: After completion by the end of 2022, China's space station will be a T shape with the core module at the center and a lab capsule on each side.
The space station has three ports where crewed or cargo spaceships and other visiting vehicles can dock.
Q2: What is the floorplan?
A: The total length of the core module is 16.6 meters, around the height of a five-story building. With a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters, it is more spacious than a train or subway carriage.
It will provide astronauts with six zones for work, sleep, sanitation, dining, healthcare and exercise.
Q3: How does the space station guarantee quality of life for the astronauts?
A: The station could support at most six astronauts at the same time. They will have their designated sleeping area and toilets.
Treadmills, spin bikes and resistance expanders provide a way for them to maintain their physical health.
The station will feature "smart home," technology where astronauts can remotely control the household appliances in the cabin through tablets, such as the refrigerator, water dispenser and microwave.
Ventilation is important for a comfortable indoor environment. To prevent astronauts from getting cold, the space station is designed to offer different wind speeds in sleeping and working areas. The wind speed in working areas is 0.08 meters per second and 0.05 in sleeping areas.
High levels of noise can be a problem for astronauts. The noise level in the working areas is 58 decibels and the 49 in the sleeping areas. The noise level for an ideal sleeping environment is 30 to 50 decibels.
Q4: What time zone do astronauts use at the Chinese space station?
A: Astronauts will work and rest according to Beijing time. It takes the space station 90 minutes to circle the earth, allowing the astronauts to see up to 16 sunrises and sunsets in 24 hours.
To keep their biological clock from being disrupted, the space station features a scene lighting system in the cabin, including a dusk and daytime mode.
Q5: Is there high-speed Wi-Fi on the space station?
A: The Wi-Fi signal will cover the cabin in its entirety.
A relay satellite undertakes the communication link between the space station and the ground. The data transmission rate from the core module to the ground is tens of times faster than the speed of 5G communication.
Q6: How will astronauts unpack, organize and tidy up the space station?
A: With the arrival of cargo spaceships in the future, the workload of unpacking, sorting, organizing and installation will be overwhelming.
Leaning from China's logistics giants, China's space station has a logistics management system. Astronauts can identify the location and product information of all items by scanning a QR code, and an inventory will be kept in real-time.
Meanwhile, the cabin goes entirely wireless inside with Wi-Fi data transmission, ensuring an orderly environment.
Q7: What will China do in the space station?
A: China aims to build the space station into a state-level space lab supporting extended stays of astronauts and large-scale scientific, technological and application experiments.
The station is also expected to contribute to the peaceful development and utilization of space resources through international cooperation, as well as to enrich technologies and experience for China's future explorations into deeper space. Enditem