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In-orbit Test Ushers in More Space Experiments

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-03-16 10:12:34 | Author: Science and Technology Daily

A simulated image of the Mengtian lab modulecompleting in-orbit transpositionon Nov 3, 2022. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

By LIN Yuchen

The first in-orbit ignition test in the combustion cabinet of the Mengtian space lab signaled completion of the combustion science experiment system of the Chinese space station, as well as the accuracy of space experiment procedures, said Zheng Huilong, scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), adding that this lays a great foundation for the following space science combustion experiments.

The ignition test used methane fuel and was divided into two segments, which lasted in about 30 seconds. Photographs of the flame taken in space and on Earth differ from each other, in that the outer ring of the former is obviously narrower than the flame on Earth. This is because of a lack of buoyancy force, said Liu Youcheng, associate professor at Tsinghua University, adding that without the interference of buoyancy convection and sedimentation of particles or droplets, combustion experiments in a micro-gravity environment may facilitate the development of combustion theories and models.

Over 40 in-orbit combustion experiments are on schedule and expected to be carried out before the end of 2023. These experiments are part of 10 research plans in micro-gravity combustion science to realize 79 scientific objectives, such as flame synthesis nanomaterials and flame carbon soot generation.

The first batch of space station experiment data that may contribute to China's micro -gravity combustion study was obtained; it will support relevant scientific research in ground and space combustion applications and materials, according to CAS.

A series of experiments have been carried out in the scientific experimental cabinets of the Mengtian lab since October 2022, when it was first launched. The cabinets operate stably and can be used to conduct more experiments in the future, according to CAS.

Editor: 王晓夏

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