* In recent years, China has shown enormous ambition in the aerospace field.
* Achieved several milestones: reaching the far side of the Moon, collecting lunar samples and bringing them back to Earth, and landing a robot on Mars.
* The proposal for this “ultra-large” ship has several objectives; Among them, achieving human permanence in space in the long term
The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) has proposed to its scientists to study the project of an ” ultra -large spacecraft with a size on the order of kilometers”.
With this project, which will last five years, it is intended to find out the feasibility of such a construction. If it comes to fruition, it would be the most ambitious plan of the current Chinese space program, which already has its own space station in full assembly in Earth orbit and operational missions on the Moon and Mar
“Such a spacecraft is an important strategic aerospace piece of equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe, and long-term stay in orbit.”
He indicated the summary of the new project attached in the statement from the NSFC, a funding body managed by the Ministry of Science and Technology .
This is one of 10 research schemes published in August by the foundation’s department of physical and mathematical sciences, which will fund five of them with a cap of $2.3 million each.
According to the document, the colossal size and structural weight of such a spacecraft would make it impossible to build it for a single launch. Therefore, they propose a modular design, which must be sent into space to be assembled in Earth orbit.
Researchers taking on the project will need to devise a way to minimize the weight of the entire structure to “reduce the number of launches and construction costs.”Likewise, they will have to make a design that allows the structure to be controlled in such a way as to limit the drift of its orientation, deformation and vibration during the assembly process, details the scheme.
Finally, the experts in charge must carry out a ground simulation of the dynamics and control of the entire assembly process in space, as well as the behavior in orbit of the already assembled spacecraft.
However, should the project succeed, bringing it to life will require much more than ingenuity.For example, the International Space Station (ISS), the largest man-made structure built by humans (110 meters long) and put into orbit, had to be assembled after 42 launches over many years and at enormous cost ($150 billion) to its participants (USA, Canada, European Union, Russia and Japan).It is still too early to speculate on the cost and features of China’s eventual “ultra-large spacecraft,” as the NSFC document does not provide further details on the goals of this structure.
However, having such a structure in orbit would be decisive for the space dominance of the Asian giant, which has already announced plans to launch manned missions to Mars in 2033 as part of a long-term project to build a permanent base on the red planet.