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China Launches Space Station's First Lab Module

Xinhua News -- China launched Wentian, the first lab module of its space station on 24th July. The new module will function both as a backup of the core module and as a powerful scientific experiment platform.The Wentian module is 17.9 meters long, has a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters, and a takeoff mass of 23 tonnes, consists of a work cabin, an airlock cabin and a resource cabin.

The Long March-5B carrier rocket, carrying Wentian, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the Province of Hainan at 2:22 p.m. (Beijing Time), About 495 seconds later, Wentian separated from the rocket and entered the planned orbit. The launch is a complete success. This is the 24th flight mission since the country's manned space program was approved and initiated.

The construction of China's Tiangong space station is expected to be completed this year. It will then evolve from a single-module structure into a national space laboratory with three modules containing Tianhe,  the core module and Wentian and Mengtian, two lab modules. The Tianhe module was launched in April 2021, and the Mengtian module is set to be launched in October this year.

The Wentian module will rendezvous and dock with the combination of the space station according to the scheduled procedures, and the Shenzhou-14 astronauts will enter Wentian to carry out relevant work.

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