China’s Long March-5B Y3 rocket, which will send the Wentian lab module to the country’s under-construction space station in orbit in the coming days, has been transported to the launchpad at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province on Monday morning.
In the next few days, various pre-launch functional checks and joint tests will be carried out as planned at the launch site.
At present, China’s space station complex is composed of the core module Tianhe, Tianzhou-4 cargo vessel and Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship.
The Tianzhou-3 cargo craft just separated from the complex on Sunday, leaving the front docking port of Tianhe for the upcoming Wentian lab module.
The three Shenzhou-14 Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, who were sent to the core module last month, will witness the rendezvous and docking of Tianhe and Wentian in orbit.
What’s known about Wentian
China’s space station will be expanded from the foundational core module Tianhe into a basic T-shaped three-module structure by the end of this year, with Tianhe in the center and the two lab modules Wentian and Mengtian on each side of it.
Wentian is scheduled to arrive in July and Mengtian in October.
The Tianhe has a length of 16.6 meters, a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a takeoff weight of 22.5 tonnes. The two lab modules are similar to the core module in length, size and weight, with more specific details yet to be unveiled.
Like the Tianhe, the Wentian lab module is also equipped with living facilities for the taikonauts, including three sleeping areas, a toilet and a kitchen.
After the Wentian docks with the Tianhe, the Shenzhou-14 crew will enter the lab module to activate the life-support system, install the scientific experiment cabinets and conduct experiments.
The cabin Wentian is mainly for studies on space life sciences. It is equipped with scientific cabinets that can support experiments on life and ecology, biotechnology, as well as comparative studies of biological growth mechanisms under varying gravity conditions.
The experiment cabinets can be used to study the growth, development, heredity and aging of plants, animals and microorganisms in space, as well as the research on closed ecosystems. Multi-level biological experiments on molecules, cells, tissues and organs can be conducted.
The crew members will give science classes from the Wentian lab module for the first time.
They will also exit from the Wentian to carry out extravehicular activities (EVAs). The previous Shenzhou-12 and Shenzhou-13 crews all went outside the Tianhe core module to carry out EVAs.
Altogether, the Shenzhou-14 crew plan to conduct two to three EVAs over the next six months, during which they are expected to operate the big and small robotic arms.
China to improve sci-tech services for rural population
China will launch a national campaign to better mobilize the science and technology sector to contribute to the country’s rural revitalization drive, according to a new set of guidelines.
Jointly issued by the China Association for Science and Technology and the National Rural Revitalization Administration, the guidelines specify a series of key tasks, including providing sci-tech training, lectures and industry-specific guidance to rural areas.
Sci-tech associations at all levels are called on to lead grassroots sci-tech workers to join in the work of rural revitalization.
The guidelines also require the relevant authorities to incorporate the construction of science popularization facilities into the overall layout of rural infrastructure, expand the service coverage of mobile science popularization facilities and build more sci-tech museums in rural secondary schools.
China’s Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft re-enters Earth’s atmosphere
Tianzhou-3, a cargo spacecraft that carried supplies to China’s space station, made a controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere at 11:31 a.m. on Wednesday (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The Long March-7 Y4 rocket carrying the Tianzhou-3 blasted off at 3:10 p.m. (BJT) on September 20, 2021, from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province. It carried about six tonnes of goods, including food items and spacesuits, to the country’s under-construction space station. Six and a half hours later, the cargo spacecraft docked with core module Tianhe at 10:08 p.m. (BJT) on the same day.
The Tianzhou-3 separated from the space station core module Tianhe on July 17, 2022, after completing all assigned assembly tasks.
It is the third mission of China’s Tianzhou-class unmanned cargo spacecraft and the second resupply mission to the space station after Tianzhou-2.
Shanghai firm receives urgent monkeypox virus test kit orders from WHO
Shanghai-based ZJ Biotech has received many urgent purchase orders from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its monkeypox virus test kit, and the company is now aiming to provide more support for accurate diagnosis and containment of the disease.
The WHO on Saturday activated its highest alert level for the growing monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The test kit developed by ZJ Biotech can accurately identify monkeypox virus by measuring the gene segment of the virus by specific fluorescence method.
“Currently the best detection method for many infectious pathogens across the world is the nucleic acid test, which has an accuracy rate of over 95 percent. It can reach more than 99 percent for some individual diseases,” said Shao Junbin, chairman of Shanghai ZJ Bio-Tech Co., Ltd.
The monkeypox virus test kit manufactured by the company has been sent to 41 countries and regions around the world. Of these, 24 emergency orders from the WHO were sent to 21 countries, covering Africa, Europe, Oceania and Southeast Asia.
At present, the company is in close contact with the WHO and health institutions in many countries around the world, aiming to provide support for accurate diagnosis and containment of the disease.
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