Celestial ship: can China create a multi-module space station

Space superpower: how China is conquering space

The share of independent travelers in the outbound flow of the PRC is 40%, which is twice the volume of package tourism. The ATOR Vestnik got acquainted with the latest trends in the Chinese tourism market.

At the recent WTM London, the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) presented an interesting report on what the structure of the PRC outbound market looks like.


As it turned out, independent travelers, or those who are commonly called Free independent travelers (FITs), are the main core of the PRC outbound market in 2017. According to COTRI, 40% of all overseas trips today are individual tours, another 40% are trips of semi-FIT travelers (some elements of the tour are ordered from tour operators, for example, accommodation or transfer - "ground handling"). And only 20% of trips abroad are traditional package tours with included transportation.

As noted in the COTRI study, organized tours are mainly sent to budget tourists, residents from agricultural regions or those citizens of the PRC who travel abroad for the first time. In large regions of China or developed industrial centers such as Beijing or Shanghai, package tourism stagnates or even loses its volume.

As noted by the head of COTRI Wolfgang Georg Arlt, this fact is important for understanding the future of outbound tourism in China. He recalled that in 2016, Chinese outbound travel reached 122 million, with an average growth rate of travel bookings for travel destinations outside Greater China of 9-11%.

The expert identified the factors stimulating the growth of Chinese tourism around the world: the easing of visa restrictions and the emergence of new routes due to the growth of air traffic, especially from cities of the "second tier", from where you can fly directly to key international airports.


According to him, marketing should now be focused on FITs-travelers, and mainly on women. According to statistics, 56% of China's tourist audience are women, and more often than not, these are experienced tourists who are interested in small destinations, some special programs, rather than study visits to large cities.

Unlike Western FIT, as Arlt noted, the Chinese have more money, for them traveling abroad means status and prestige. For this reason, Chinese tourists are interested in different experiences and activities, for example, they are ready to pick wild fruits and mushrooms, they are eager to see the northern lights, to experience a genuine immersion in the life of the "aborigines" of the host country.

The Present and Future of Chinese Tourism: A Study

In recent years, China has not only been building up its political and economic might, but has also made no secret of its extraterrestrial ambitions. The Celestial Empire is already cramped on this planet, and Beijing has taken up the exploration of outer space in earnest. For many years, the race was mainly between the USA and the USSR/Russia - and even now the whole world is closely following the launches of SpaceX or Soyuz, but almost no one notices the launches of Chinese rockets. However, such inattention is very dangerous, because a new space superpower is rising to its full height at Russia's side.


Moscow and Washington are rapidly losing their leadership in space. This graph clearly demonstrates the dynamics of the number of space launches by year and country.

China has recently made another leap: the deployment of an independent navigation system has been completed in orbit - an analogue of the American GPS and Russian GLONASS. It is called BeiDou, and it took almost 30 years to create it. The constellation includes 35 satellites in different orbits, which will provide users with accurate navigation information. A distinctive feature of Chinese spacecraft is the highest reliability and long service life - 12-15 years, which is twice as much as Russian counterparts. The deployment of a satellite constellation will allow Beijing to level its dependence on foreign providers of critical information and eliminate vulnerabilities in the security system, because now, for example, the military uses American GPS - tanks, airplanes, cars at a glance for the United States. Moreover, Washington has lost a strong leverage: it will no longer be possible to threaten Beijing with disconnecting the PRC from GPS in the event of a further escalation of the conflict between the two countries.

With the launch of BeiDou, China is taking the lead in technology. In the near future, the system will be used for positioning and control of unmanned vehicles - from harvesters to cars. Its indisputable advantage over its American counterpart is its high accuracy. So, BeiDou determines the location with an accuracy of 10 cm, while GPS has an error of 30 cm. This difference is especially critical, for example, for unmanned vehicles. It will take the United States another 15 years to modernize the GPS, and BeiDou is already working. The high quality of the navigation system is in demand abroad: for example, 120 countries have already connected to BeiDou, and Pakistan has transferred its armed forces to it.


In addition to deploying its own navigation system, China is racing to conquer the Red Planet. On July 23, the Tianwen-1 ambitious Mars exploration mission was successfully launched. It is noteworthy that it became the first project of its kind that the PRC implements completely independently. Domestic rocket "Changzheng-5" was launched from the cosmodrome on about. Hainan. Two spacecraft weighing as much as five tons went to Mars at once - like three cars. The orbiter will take pictures of the planet's surface, observe the magnetic fields and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and the descent vehicle is an autonomous rover designed for direct study of the surface and soil samples. The orbital probe is designed for one Martian year of operation (about two Earth years), and the 240-kilogram rover is designed for 90 Martian days. However, the American rover Opportunity, which has worked for more than 14 years, was designed for exactly the same period.

Beijing made its first attempt to start its Mars program in 2011. The Chinese microsatellite Inkho-1 was supposed to fly to Mars aboard the Russian probe Phobos-Grunt, but was destroyed as a result of an unsuccessful launch. So far, only the United States has successfully delivered descent vehicles to Mars - the missions of the European Space Agency and the USSR/Russia have ended in failure. In the orbit of the Red Planet, however, Soviet, European, American and even Indian vehicles worked and are working, however, if successful, China will firmly take its second place on the pedestal of the Martian powers. However, Beijing does not intend to stop at launching unmanned spacecraft to Mars and plans to land astronauts in the 2030s-2040s - who knows, maybe the first person on another planet will be a Chinese?


China is also not lagging behind in the exploration of the moon. The first stage of the lunar program began in 2007, when the Chang'e-1 module was launched by the Chinese Changzheng-3A launch vehicle. The spacecraft successfully entered the orbit of the Earth satellite and began photographing the surface. Within a year, China received a complete three-dimensional map of the entire lunar surface, which is necessary for future missions. In 2010, the PRC managed to draw up an even more detailed map with a resolution of 7 meters. Moreover, the Chang'e-2 apparatus, which successfully completed this mission, was directed to the asteroid Tautatis, flying past it only three kilometers away - with filigree precision, in space.

First-hand news

China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft has completed its flight. He successfully collected soil on the Moon and delivered it to Earth. Thus, China became the third country after the USA and the USSR, which managed to do this. Recall that American astronauts brought from the Moon 391 kilograms of regolith (lunar soil), and the Soviet automatic stations "Luna-16", "Luna-20" and "Luna-24" - 326 grams. Chang'e-5, named after the Chinese moon goddess, delivered 2 kilograms.

The head of the Moon and Planetary Research Department of the State Astronomical Institute named after V.I. Sternberg Moscow State University, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Vladislav Shevchenko.

First on the back

- With a number of successful launches on the lunar program, China has undoubtedly taken the lead in the new lunar race. The previous competition between the USSR and the USA in this area was aimed at demonstrating scientific, technical and political superiority. Although, undoubtedly, the space achievements of both countries in the 60s and 70s of the last century made a huge contribution to fundamental science, significantly advanced the level of human knowledge about the nature of the nearest space and the bodies of the solar system. Huge experience has been accumulated in the creation and operation of space technology.

The new lunar race, which began in the first decade of the 21st century, is already somewhat different. Along with the achievements in the field of fundamental sciences, the tasks of an applied nature are becoming increasingly important. Quite recently, in a joint declaration of eight countries of America, Europe and Asia, it was announced that, through joint efforts, these states in the near future, in 2024, will begin the practical implementation of a program for the development and utilization of lunar useful resources.

The Chinese Chang'e-5 spacecraft has successfully delivered lunar soil samples to Earth. A special capsule was able to deliver about 2 kg of material for research to the planet. pic. witter. om/8ikeZFJe7y

China has not joined this group of powers. He has his own space program, which he carries out ahead of the countries of the "space eight" in both scientific and technological fields.

What have the Chinese been able to achieve in the course of their program? No one has yet succeeded in soft landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Chinese scientists and engineers have done it. For several months (or lunar days), on the surface of the Von Karman crater inside the largest shock ring structure in the solar system, the South Pole - Aitken, the research lunar rover "Yuytu-2", which was delivered there by the "Chang'e-4" spacecraft, has been moving.

And in order to control it from Earth, another device was launched into space. This is a repeater, which is located at such a point in near space, from where both the lunar rover on the far side of the Moon and the point of distant space communication on the Earth's surface are "visible". This is a brilliant technical solution.

Samples of pristine lunar nature

What new has the recently completed flight of the Chang'e-5 complex brought to the space area? The main objective of the mission was to deliver samples of lunar matter to Earth 44 years later (the last was the Soviet station "Luna-24"). Moreover, from an area that has not been previously explored.

Day Space Trip

China successfully launched the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft with two crew members. The launch was carried out at 7:30 (2:30 Moscow time) using the Changzheng-2F launch vehicle from the Jiuquan cosmodrome in Gansu province.

The crew includes Commander Jing Haipeng, for whom this is his third space flight, and Chen Dong, who went into orbit for the first time.

According to the flight plan, "Shenzhou-11" in orbit should dock with the space laboratory "Tiangong-2", where the crew will conduct medical, scientific and other experiments.

The taikonauts will spend 33 days in orbit, of which 30 they will be on board the space laboratory. If the flight plan is fully implemented, this mission will become the longest in the history of Chinese manned space exploration.

Chinese "Gagarin" started in the year, Chinese "Tereshkova" - in

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the mission participants on the successful launch of the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft.

“Having learned about the successful launch of the spacecraft, Shenzhou-11, I would like to heartily congratulate all the participants in this mission and the astronauts on their successful work,” the Chinese leader said in his congratulatory telegram.

Work on the Shenzhou Manned Program (Sacred Shuttle) began in 1992. The first unmanned spacecraft flew in 1999.

On October 15, 2003, the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft piloted by PLA Air Force Colonel Yang Liwei made 14 orbits around the Earth. So China became the third power that managed to independently send a person into low-earth orbit.

In 2005, China carried out a flight of a crew of two, in 2008, during a flight of a crew of three, the first spacewalk of a taikonaut took place.

At the SCO summit, Russia and China signed a memorandum of understanding between the State Space Corporation Roscosmos and the Chinese National Space Administration. The details of the agreement have not yet been presented, but it is clarified that it is about cooperation between the two countries in the field of exploration of the Moon and deep space.

Earlier, Roskosmos announced that the Russian Federation, together with China in 2022, is going to launch the orbital spacecraft Luna-Resurs-1 (Luna-26). A year later, the countries intend to begin interaction to implement the Chinese mission of landing in the region of the south pole of the moon. Moscow and Beijing are also discussing the creation of a Data Center for Lunar Projects.

In addition, next year, China plans to launch a multi-module space station into orbit, and in 2022 - to finally put it into operation. This is the main project of the PRC space program, which, however, can become international: at the end of May, the permanent representative of the PRC at the UN office in Vienna, Shi Zhongjun, said that he was inviting all UN member countries to cooperate on the joint use of the future China Space Station (KS).

"All countries, regardless of their size and level of development, can participate in cooperation on an equal basis," the Chinese permanent representative stressed.

A small Chinese research laboratory is currently orbiting the Earth. However, in 2019, the PRC will launch the first - basic - segment of the Tianhe multi-module station (Milky Way. - RT). Chinese designers plan to attach to it two laboratory modules, "Wentian" ("Questioning to the sky". - RT) and "Mengtian" ("Dream sky". - RT). The "Shenzhou" manned transport vehicle and the "Tianzhou" cargo spacecraft will dock with this T-shaped structure, which will supply spare parts, fuel and debris into orbit.

Industry Pioneers

The PRC already has experience in creating manned orbiting space stations. However, the leaders here for decades have been Russia (USSR) and the United States.

The first to put its own space station Salyut-1 into orbit was the Soviet Union in 1971. In total, seven stations of this type were launched. Moreover, since 1977, crews from other countries have also participated in Soviet space expeditions. Following the USSR, the United States launched its single-module space station Skylab. She was in low-earth orbit from 1973 to 1979.

The championship in the creation of a multi-module station also belongs to the USSR - the Mira base unit was launched in 1986. The station was in orbit until 2001, during which time 104 cosmonauts from 11 countries visited it.

The ISS has become the largest multi-module orbital station. The USA, Europe, Canada and Japan were engaged in its development back in 1984, eight years later Russia also joined the project.

When assembled, the space station will become the world's third multi-module manned orbital station (after the Mir and ISS stations).

The ISS is planned to be completed and flooded in the Pacific Ocean in 2024. However, the station can still remain in orbit, becoming a private property or becoming a transport hub. Such plans, in particular, were discussed in February in the Donald Trump administration.

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