China intends to enlarge its space station in the near-Earth orbit by deploying a new module that will connect with the current configuration, resulting in a cross-shaped combination
As the space station construction completed in December, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) made public its follow-up plans at an exhibition in Beijing of achievements in China’s manned space program of 30 years.
According to the CMSA, the new module, which will function as a node cabin, will have multiple docking ports like the core module Tianhe, allowing the space station to accommodate more spaceships.
The agency said that China wants to make its space station work for a longer time in space by making improvements and upgrades.
The exhibition also showcased China’s development of a new-generation reusable near-Earth crewed spacecraft with the capacity to carry four to seven astronauts into space and bring back over 700 kilograms of payloads to Earth.
The space station will change its focus from developing new technology during construction to carrying out experiments and activities in space. Several experiments are either ongoing or about to begin on the station. Some of these experiments are aimed at finding ways to protect spacecraft metals from harmful microbes, generate oxygen using algae in space, and turn heat energy into electricity.