China Planning to Build a Miles-Wide Spacecraft

Oddly, many spaceships in science fiction look like they’re meant to be aerodynamic, even when they never make it anywhere near the atmosphere of a planet. Ships like the Nostromo are relatively few and far between. China’s got a plan cooking to make a miles-long modular spaceship. Here hoping it flies through space with endearing asymmetric elegance. Here’s more from MOTHERBOARD:

This technique of in-space assembly has been most famously used with human space habitats, such as the International Space Station, which installed a new module, Nauka, just last month. China is also currently building a crewed station, Tiangong, by launching individual modules that are connected in low-Earth orbit.

Now, scientists hope to use this piece-by-piece approach to build space megaprojects on an entirely new scale. And while this sounds pretty far-out, the NSFC is far from the only organization that has been looking ahead toward this goal of ultra-large spacecraft. Researchers led by Zhihui Xue, a roboticist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shenyang Institute of Automation, recently summarized some of the efforts and possible applications of these technologies in a 2020 study published in the Chinese Journal of Aeronautics.

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