Hmmmmmm shares a report from Phys.Org: China plans to launch the core module for its first permanent space station this week in the latest big step forward for the country’s space exploration program. The Tianhe, or ‘Heavenly Harmony’ module is set to be hurtled into space aboard a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan. The launch could come as early as Thursday night if all goes as planned. It would be the first of 11 missions to build and supply the space station for a three-person crew. Another 10 launches will send up two more modules; four cargo supply shipments and four missions with crews. At least 12 astronauts are training to fly to and live in the station, including veterans of previous flights, newcomers and women. When completed by late 2022, Tianhe is expected to weigh about 66 tons, a fraction the size of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and will weigh about 450 tons when completed. Tianhe will have a docking port and will also be able to connect with a powerful Chinese space satellite. Theoretically, it could be expanded with more modules.
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