International Space Station Current Affairs
Russian space agency Roskosmos has successfully launched Progress MS-08, an unmanned cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS). It was launched onboard of Soyuz-2.1a rocket from Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. Soyuz-2.1a has four strap-on boosters and core engine, all fueled by mix of kerosene and liquid oxygen.
The Progress-class capsule was carrying 2.7 tons of food, fuel, and other supplies. It was also carrying equipment for the German-Russian ICARUS research project aimed at studying wildlife-migration patterns. The robotic cargo capsule is docking with ISS’s Zvezda service module.
The capsule is packed with 1,390 kilograms of equipment, scientific hardware, food and supplies for orbiting lab’s six-person crew, plus 890 kilograms of propellant for station, plus 420 kilograms of water, 24 kilograms of compressed air and 22 kilograms of compressed oxygen.
The ISS, which is orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth is currently manned by six astronauts including three from US, two from Russia and one from Japan.
China has successfully docked its first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 with the Tiangong-2 space lab. It is hailed as a major step towards China’s ambition of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. China has an ambitious plan of building a permanent space station by 2022, that will be in the orbit for at least 10 years. Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace 2) space lab was home to two astronauts for a month in last October. T It was China’s longest-ever manned space mission. iangong-2 was put up into space on September 15, 2016.China has prioritised advancing its space programme to strengthen national security.
Tianzhou-1 is a tube-like craft which is capable of carrying 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months. It is considered that the cargo spacecraft has provided an important technological basis for building a space station. According to Chinese sources, Tianzhou-1 will dock two more times with Tiangong-2 before falling back to Earth.
Despite its achievements, China still lags behind the United States and Russia. For instance, in 2013, China’s rover, ‘Jade Rabbit’ which landed on moon faced many technical difficulties.
The US Defence Department has accused China of pursuing activities that are aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis. However, China has refuted such claims and has stated it has only peaceful ambitions in space, but has tested anti-satellite missiles. In 2011, the US Congress ordered that Chinese astronauts should not be allowed to enter International Space Station (ISS) owing to national security concerns.