The Russian space agency is considering options to send astronauts to the Tiangong station from the launch site in Russia or French Guiana.
Dmitry Rogozin, chief executive of Russian space agency Roscosmos, said Russia was discussing with China the “launch of a manned ship to Tiangong station” during a press conference at the World Exploration Conference space (GLEX) in Saint Petersburg. St. Petersburg, Space reported on June 22.
The Chinese space station has a different orbit than the International Space Station (ISS), according to Rogozin. “The station is accessible from the Vostochny and Kourou cosmodromes in French Guiana. We have studied the feasibility of modernizing the Soyuz launch pad at the Kourou cosmodrome to launch a manned spacecraft to the station in China,” a- he declared.
China sent the first crew to Tianhe, the central module of the Tiangong station, via Shenzhou 12 and the Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in the Gobi Desert on June 17. Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo will spend three months on the galactic module.
Thien Cung station is expected to be completed in 2022 and astronauts will work continuously for at least 10 years. In the future, this could be the only low-earth orbit destination for international astronauts as the ISS station is unlikely to operate normally after 2024. Russia is still involved in the ISS project but is currently working on it. .
Getting astronauts to Thien Cung station will be a challenge. Russia’s space ports are located at higher latitudes that the Tiangong station is easily accessible. The orbital inclination of this station is optimized for launches from Jiuquan. Another Russian option is French Guiana. This method requires adjusting the launch pad to create favorable conditions for the vessel carrying people. Russia launched ships from here, but carrying only satellites. In addition, the country must also take into account the compatibility of the ship’s mooring mechanisms with the space station.
China can launch passenger ships from Jiuquan for international partners. However, to embark in Shenzhou, foreign astronauts will need to undergo a long period of general training and develop language skills, just as astronauts from NASA, ESA and other agencies learn Russian to travel to the ISS by the Soyuz probe.