China’s Space Lab to ‘serve’ Belt & Road

BY GLOBAL TIMES and SILVI WRITER

Tiangong-2, China’s first space lab, is likely to serve major national projects, leading scientific research and economic projects, such as the Belt and Road initiative, scientific research on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration.

Data acquired by China’s Tiangong-2 space lab has assisted more than 70 research projects since it began orbiting in space more than 820 days ago, the Global Times, China’s popular newspaper under the People’s Daily, reported on Thursday.

Its application has offered about 37 trillion bytes of data observing Earth, according to a conference on Tiangong-2 held in Beijing on Tuesday.

The data serves 61 institutes for 76 projects, including 15 national departments, 14 scientific research institutes and 32 universities.

The projects cover multiple fields – resources, atmosphere, lakes, agriculture and marine meteorological support, a statement sent to the Global Times said.

Gu Yidong, an adviser for the manned space flight project, told the Global Times that the application scale of China’s remote sensing satellite and overall capacity have been equal to that of the US.

More than 40 remote sensing satellites to monitor wind, cloud and the ocean have been constructed. In the future, China will also build satellite systems for meteorology, ocean and land, Gu noted.

But Gu said that the huge amount of data cannot be fully used due to different departments in charge. “The next step is to cope with the data-sharing problem across departments.”

The space engineering office said Tiangong-2 carries 14 application payloads ranging from particle physics, material science to remote sensing technologies, which weigh around 600 kilograms.

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Compared with its predecessor Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 hosts more experiments and is considered as China’s first space lab “in the strictest sense.”

The space lab will de-orbit after July 2019.

China plans to conduct several manned space flights from 2019 to 2022, during which a 60-ton space station will be assembled and built.

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