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China Inches Closer to Complete and Operationalise its First Space Station

China on Monday came to a step closer to complete its first space station by 2020

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Representational image. Wikimedia
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Beijing, October 17, 2016: With the launching of its manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-11, into orbit in a project designed to develop its ability to explore space, China on Monday came to a step closer to complete its first space station by 2020 and operationalise services two years later.

The spacecraft, launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, has two astronauts on board — Jing Haipeng, 49, who has already been in space twice, and 37-year-old Chen Dong.

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They will dock with the experimental Tiangong 2 space lab and spend 30 days there, the longest stay in space by Chinese astronauts.

China was earlier prevented from participating in the US-led International Space Station (ISS). With the ISS set to retire in 2024, the Chinese station offers a promising alternative, and China will be the only country with a permanent space station.

The Chinese space station will be more “economically efficient and informationised” than the ISS, Zhou Jianping, Chief Engineer of China’s manned space programme, told Xinhua news agency following the launch of Tiangong-2 on September 15 this year.

It will be able to house a maximum of six astronauts at the same time and manned missions will become routine once the space station enters service, Zhou said.

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The ISS, launched in 1998 and involving the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the participating countries of the European Space Agency, has been visited by 18 countries — and counting, according to the mission website.

“The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000. In that time, 222 people from 18 countries have visited,” NASA said.

Measuring 34.1 feet in length and up to 10.9 feet in diameter, the tube-like Tiangong-2 is hardly the size of a palace. The ISS, on the other hand, measures 357 feet end-to-end — equivalent to the length of a football field.

According to Zhu Zongpeng, Chief Designer of China’s space lab system, Tiangong-2’s workload includes POLAR, a collaboration between Swiss, Polish and Chinese institutions to study gamma ray bursts, the most energetic events in the universe.

A cold atomic space clock, which scientists say only loses one second in about 30 million years, is expected to make future navigation more accurate.

Scientists will also conduct a space-Earth quantum key distribution and laser communications experiment, to facilitate space-to-ground quantum communication.

After launching its first manned mission in 2003, China staged a spacewalk in 2008 and sent Tiangong-1 into space in 2011.

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It succeeded in a manned docking in space in 2012 to become the third country to do so after the US and Russia, and landed its Yutu rover on the moon a year later.

China also aims to send the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon, and to land a probe on Mars by 2021. (IANS)

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  • Antara

    Another major Chinese venture! Wonderful news!

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Apple Launches a $300 Million Fund to Bring Clean Energy to China

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley"

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The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.
The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said. Pixabay

Amid heightened trade tensions between the US and China, tech giant Apple has joined hands with its suppliers to launch a $300 million clean energy fund in China.

The “China Clean Energy Fund” will invest in and develop clean-energy projects totalling more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China, the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes, Apple said in a statement on Thursday.

“At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

The Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant said 10 of its initial suppliers have come forward to jointly invest in the nearly $300 million fund over the next four years.

“We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet,” Jackson said.

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Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou. Pixabay

By virtue of its size and scale, the China Clean Energy Fund will give its participants the advantage of greater purchasing power and the ability to attain more attractive and diverse clean energy solutions.

The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.

Also Read: Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Faster Performance And New Features for Pros

The announcement to invest in the clean energy fund in China follows Apple’s announcement earlier in 2018 that its global facilities are powered by 100 per cent clean energy and the launch of its Supplier Clean Energy Programme in 2015.

Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou.

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as “China’s Silicon Valley”. (IANS)