File Photo: China's Tiangong-1 space station
China is to launch an “optical module” along with the under-construction space station, said Zhang Yulin, Deputy to the National People’s Congress and Deputy Minister of Central Military Commission Equipment Development Department, on March 7, 2016. The “optical module” is similar to Hubble Space Telescope, but the field of view is 300 times that of Hubble.
The module would maintain a certain distance to orbit with the space station. When suffers malfunction or needs maintenance, it will dock to the space station and be operated by astronauts, Zhang said. This will solve the problem Hubble has encountered, when NASA had to send up astronauts particularly to repair it. This special design of China’s space station makes in-orbit maintenance possible, and can thus bring the numerous defunct satellites to life, Zhang said.
Within 10 years of orbit, the module would capture about 40 percent of the space with a precision no less than Hubble. With these data, it is hopeful that China will make breakthrough development on the origin, development, and evolution of the universe.