China has proved in recent years that it has a lot to say in the space exploration field. The Asian country even has a long history of studying the heavens. The supernova which created the Crab Nebula, for instance (or SN 1054), represents an astronomical event observed by Ancient Chinese astronomers.
Space.com now writes about how China prepares to send a large space telescope for joining the first module of the country’s own space station. Known as the Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST) or ‘Xuntian’, it’s set to launch in 2024.
Packed with a huge camera of 2.5 billion pixels
The CSST is comparable with the good old Hubble Space Telescope, as it’s packed with a 6.6-foot (2 meters) diameter lens. China’s telescope has such a wide field of view that it will be able to observe a maximum of 40 percent of the sky over a period of ten years. Last but not least, the telescope will be doing its thing using a powerful camera of 2.5 billion pixels.
Zhou Jianping, who is the chief designer of China’s human spaceflight program, declared for China Central Television while cited by Space.com:
The telescope will be set up in an optical module that can fly independently in orbit for a higher efficiency of space probe.
He also added:
Meanwhile, we will make it fly approximately in common orbit with the future space station. This will help us refuel the telescope and carry out in-orbit upgrade[s] for it, so as to always keep it on the level of an international frontier.
The CSST will co-orbit Earth along with China’s space station, and it should be only a matter of time until we’ll see them in action.