Coué, Philippe - Heavenly Palace (Printed copy)
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Chinese Tiangong-3 space station goes operational
by Philippe Coué
Tiangong-3 is the culmination of 30 years of effort to provide China with a permanent orbital station. After "Shenzhou" and "Jing and Chen", "Heavenly Palace" is the third part of a books trilogy covering the whole Chinese manned space programme.
In "Heavenly Palace", Philippe Coué describes, mission after mission, the assembly and the first operational steps of the first large Chinese orbital station in permanent operation.
It was no secret that since the end of the 1990s, the Chinese wanted to build a modular station based on Mir, the Russian orbital infrastructure operated between 1986 and 2001. But this is a Chinese-style 're-innovation' of the functions of the Russian station. It is neither a copy nor an imitation: everything has been redesigned with 21st century equipment and for 21st century missions.
Within a decennial, the Middle Kingdom has joined the very select club of nations that know how to launch men into space and recover them. Today, China has far surpassed Russia in volume of space activities. It has become the world's second largest space power after the United States, and far ahead of Europe.
This book is essential reading to understand the stakes and Beijing's objectives for conquering the cosmos, with, in its sights, the second conquest of the Moon after that of low earth orbit.
Tiangong-3 will certainly be used to test elements of future solar power plants, a programme that has become a priority for Beijing. But its pressurised modules are also prototypes for the future lunar base that the Chinese want to build at the Moon's South Pole.
144 pages - A5 - in colours - in English