China’s space station lab module Wentian has a lot in common with the Tianhe core module. They share a lot of the same technology. Both vessels can even take up each other’s functions at the flip of a switch. But Wentian is so much more than a back-up. Sun Ye has more.

China Space Station Wentian can take Tianhe's tasks at the word of command

At 17-point-9 meters long, Wentian is a little longer than the Tianhe core module. And the two share the same girth at their bulkiest parts. Unless you are very good at spatial thinking, it’s not always easy to tell these two apart at a glance. Both were designed by the China Academy of Space Technology. And its experts say, Wentian is one of a kind. LI WEI Deputy Chief Designer, China Space Station General System, China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) “When we look at Wentian lab modules’ tasks, we’ll see it’s many things in one: for one, it’s a control platform for the entire space station, that’s Wentian’s function as back-up for Tianhe, and the key functions are backed-up 1:1 ; secondly, it’s a LAB module, so it’s capable of large-scale space experiments, both in and outside of Wentian’s sealed cabin, and on a greater scale than ever. Also Wentian is an active spacecraft so it’s similar to manned-spaceship and cargo-ships in that it will travel and dock with the Tianhe core module through a fast rendezvous and docking procedure. So Wentian has many roles.”

And when Wentian and Tianhe are both in place, it doesn’t just increase the space station’s capacity, but its safety as well. LI WEI Deputy Chief Designer, China Space Station General System, China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) “One more module in orbit actually means more sets of precautions available. We design with the safety of the entire space station assembly in mind. Before, there was only the core module with the cargo-ship and manned spaceship. But with Wentian there, there are two modules for the space station. Wentian can also handle key functions like energy management, information management, manned environment control, and overall attitude and orbit control. So in case of danger, we have two sets of safety insurances from Wentian and Tianhe.” And the two modules will wait together, for the space lab module Mengtian, arriving in a few months. SY, CGTN, BJ.

Source: This news is originally published by cgtn

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