China has been an emerging great power since the 1980s, mainly thanks to technical modernization, which is made possible by very cautious and conservative political reforms.
The space program was launched in the Far Eastern country after the first satellite, the Soviet Sputnik-1. Still, it was not until 1980, with the establishment of an Astronaut Training Center near Shanghai and the creation of the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) in 1993.
In the 2000s, lunar probes were launched, mars exploration probes were launched in the 2010s, thinking-1 formed its own (experimental) space station for China. The next step could be a kilometer-long spacecraft suitable for cosmic space travel.
The South China Morning Post reports that the Asian country plans to build an ultra-long spacecraft of between 1 and 1.5 kilometers in modular form, loaded in several pieces in space. The project would start with a grant of approximately 15 million yuan (2.3 million dollars).
The plan is to spend five years in the first round of development at the Chinese National Natural History Foundation, which plans the spacecraft. This monstrous aims to make better use of space resources in the future, explore even more parts of the universe and live in orbit around these targets in the long term.
Research and development aim to include new, modern lightweight building blocks, thanks to which the number of building materials that need to be fired into space can be significantly reduced. In addition, new technologies are being developed as part of the five-year plan to assemble massive structures in or near-Earth orbit safely.
Of course, the cost could increase significantly: Scientific American has spoken to NASA’s head of technology, Mason Peck, who, by comparison, said that the total length of the International Space Station (ISS) is only 110 meters, but today it would cost roughly $100 billion to build.
The size of the Chinese cosmic spacecraft is ten times that, so you can imagine how much money should be spent on it. That is why a long R&D phase is needed to optimize building materials and elements, including costs. According to Peck, 3D printing is a good option, but it may also be worth considering the moon’s raw materials, although the latter would first require extraction on the heavenly god.
The NASA scientist outlined several other problems to be solved, including difficulties with maneuvering due to its enormous size, deflection and vibration, cosmic radiation, and the current technological level, which also makes sending up a simple space capsule a complex, complicated process, not to mention the maintenance of such large structures and space stations.