China Manned Space Engineering

Chinese Factory To Build Outsize Spacecraft

By Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

January 28, 2013

Established space facilities can build objects the size of the Tiangong 1 orbital laboratory, which used a diameter that is standard in Chinese space engineering. The new plant at Tianjin will build bigger spacecraft.

Bradley Perrett

It is probably no coincidence that modules for China’s planned space station will be similar in size to powerful reconnaissance satellites. Rockets designed for one can launch the other. For the same reason, a new factory at Tianjin to build 6-8 outsize spacecraft a year has a clear military role.

The plant’s best-known products will be modules for the space station that China plans to build around 2020, but another product line will be “large remote-sensing satellites.” The big spacecraft from Tianjin will join smaller payloads in a launch program that envisages sending up 30 rockets annually over the next seven years, more than doubling the rate of recent years.

Apart from assembly, the factory will be able to test its products, says the government of Tianjin, which is pushing hard to build itself up as one of China’s top aerospace centers. Another facility in the city will build launcher rockets China is developing to replace and supplement its old hydrazine-fueled Long March series.

The city’s economics and information committee says when the spacecraft plant is complete, it “will be able to build 6-8 outsize spacecraft a year, satisfying requirements for the space station, outsize [communications] satellites, large remote-sensing satellites, large unfolding precision structures and so on.”

Read more: Chinese Factory To Build Outsize Spacecraft — Aviation Week & Space Technology.

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